The biographical drama film the social network (FIncher. 2010) depicts a representation of the ideology Marxism, throughout the portrayal of its main characters and its main story narrative.
The opening scene depicts protagonist Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) explaining to his girlfriend how he wants to be noticed and accepted into a final club; a fraternity made up of elite Harvard upper-class students. The description of the Harvard final clubs, places them as being a “ruling class”, which “rules material and intellectual forces of their society” (Marx and Engles 1970, 64). In the same scene Mark details how himself and his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), aren’t likely to get noticed from a final club, despite his high SATs score of 1600 and Eduardo oil investment, “their position in life and personal development therefore is assigned to them by their class” (Marx and Engles 1970, 82), which is of a lower un-ruling class compared to the final clubs.
Before the creation of Facebook, Mark first creates Facemash with the help of his dorm mates and Eduardo. Facemash allows for the rating of hotness of female students all over the college campus, Mark and friends are “representative of a whole society”, which is the male demographic and it is through the action of hacking in to their network where “they are the mass society that are confronting the ruling class” (Marx and Engles 1970, 82) which in the film’s first act is Harvard and their board members.
The social network presents the concept of capitalism with the characters the Winklevoss twins and Divya Nerendra (Armie Hammer and Max Minghella). These three characters are portrayed as athletes and businessmen who all hold membership with final club; The Procellian. Much like Mark, the characters seek to create a social dating website, Harvard.edu. “The right of property is, similarly a right of self-interest” (Marx and Engles 1970, 9), the characters already being a part of a ruling class, selfishly wish to gain even more of a higher position within Harvard, and for them Harvard.edu acts as a way for them to gain more business and for the attraction of female students with their exclusive private-property.
Harvard and the board members where the security, the “concept of police” (Marx and Engles 1970, 9), when shutting down Facemash at the beginning of the film’s narrative. With the popularity of Facebook, Mark himself becomes security. With a new society of college students using Facebook in different states, Facebook preservers; “people, their rights and property” (Marx and Engles 1970). This is evident as Eduardo mentions earlier in the film, that with their profiles, there was nothing to hack with Facebook as “it allowed people to invite or not invite people they wanted”. (FIncher. 2010)
To conclude the works of Karl Marx are demonstrated and presented well when looking at this film theoretically. It is also the way which David Fincher has directed this film, having the non-linear narrative, shows the growth of not only the characters but also the class struggles and capitalist ideals, and these strengths points discussed above.
Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engles. “The German Ideology.” In The German Ideology, by Marx Karl, edited by C. J. Arthur, 158. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1970.
The Social Network. (2010) Dir. D. Fincher. [Film] USA: Columbia Pictures