Views from the Sofa’s Greatest Scenes is a list of the greatest moments in the movies. This could be long introductions, moments of action or great dialogue between characters. The scenes are in no particular order and come from many different types of movies.
Before The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg wasn’t necessarily a well known actor. That would change with his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, but it wouldn’t be for his likeness or the fact that he managed to perfectly capture the mannerisms or voice of the Internet Billionaire. The success of the performance would be in his demeanour, his prickly attitude and best of all, his lightening fast way he spoke to every other character. You are introduced to this immediately and it manages to tell you everything you need to know about his character in 5 minutes.
Greatest Scene Number 45: The Social Network – “…It will be because you’re an A******.”
It is with the lightening fast speed that Jesse Eisenberg talks that captures your attention. He opens with a great line about the comparative IQ of China and America and just doesn’t seem to stop. It doesn’t feel like a gimmick though. It feels very natural and you believe that this is how Zuckerberg (or at least Eisenberg’s version of the character) speaks. It isn’t forced and is also surprisingly easy to follow.
This is also helped by Rooney Mara. It is easy to give Eisenberg the credit for this scene and his performance but Mara holds her own against his lightening speech. She intersects correctly, cuts him off and highlights how difficult it is to engage with someone who isn’t necessarily engaging with you. She also helps to show how the gap between the two individuals begins to widen.
This is a five minute break-up scene and Zuckerberg doesn’t even realise it. He manages to inadvertently insult his girlfriend, make unfounded accusations and then seem desperate when she decides that she wants to end the relationship. In that five minute space, Eisenberg manages to tell you everything you need to know about his version of Zuckerberg: intelligent but almost socially inept. Some would even argue that there is a lot of foreshadowing for the events of the movie, from the quip about “not wanting friends” or the snide remarks about the rowing team. There is even a call-back to the excellent “a******” line that Mara gets to deliver in the final scenes of the film.
This is down to the great writing of Aaron Sorkin, who manages to fit what feels like ten minutes of dialogue into a five minute scene. It is still down to Eisenberg who manages to deliver this scene and hold it perfectly (even if it took a rumoured 99 takes to get it).
Overall, the opening scene of The Social Network manages to capture so much. It highlights the ability of Eisenberg to capture Zuckerberg’s intelligence, rapid-fire speech and social awkwardness. This is down to a couple of things, including Mara’s contribution and the excellent writing by Aaron Sorkin.