In Defense of Erica Albright: A Social Network Blog Post
by Jamie Rice
It’s no secret to you or the general population of the world that The Social Network is one of my favorite movies. All those years ago when my mother and I went to go see it at the dollar theatre on a random Friday night, I had no idea what I was walking into. I knew nothing about the film, and I wouldn’t even say that before I saw the movie I was the kind of person that really got lit about film. I loved a lot of shows and movies, but I wasn’t sitting around talking about cinematic greatness. It wasn’t something I cared about.
And then I watched this scene. The infamous, at this point, first scene that was practiced and recorded 99 times by David Fincher. I can’t name the number of times that I have watched this (It’s probably approaching 99 times! AYYYYYYY… sorry…), but there is just something about it that gets me every time. Sometimes I think it is because you learn everything you will ever need to know about Mark Zuckerberg, the character not the real person, in that five minutes (which is true), but recently I’ve been thinking it is his girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend) Erica Albright.
She doesn’t play a large role in the rest of the movie, outside of a very important scene that signifies the film’s turning point later on. This is her one and only moment. Aaron Sorkin, the writer of this film, is not known for being a feminist. He has written some seriously kick ass female characters, but he’s definitely not writing with feminism as his main goal. He’s just a dude writing films usually about crazy and great men. That’s fine with me on some level, but this movie is not like the others because Erica is important. In my opinion, she is actually the most important character in this film. And, the thing is, she gets nothing for that. Her reward in this film is that she gets to walk away. She gets to live her own life that we will never see without Mark, which is probably a really good thing.
All of a sudden, I’m having a hard time quantifying why exactly she is just resonating with me so much, but as a woman that has been in her fair share of shitty relationships, I just have to say that there is something so relatable, real, and emotional about their break up. There is something just awesome about how she doesn’t take any of his pretentious final club crap. I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again right now, I don’t think this film paints Mark Zuckerberg as an asshole, but this scene totally does. His obsession with doing something meaningful and getting into a final club makes it so he can’t even understand how Erica might feel. He is rude. He is insulting. And regardless of what emotional issues he has, which are very clear in his raging insecurity, it doesn’t excuse the fact that he is being a total dick.
And this is something that he realizes about himself and grapples with throughout the rest of the film, but I never forget about Erica. She sticks with me. So does Jennifer Lawrence’s character from Silver Linings Playbook. While that performance obviously gets fleshed out a lot more, I have to say that these women (the ones that have to put up with such shit) are amazing.
The line: “I opened up to you, and you judged me. You’re an asshole,” is definitely cinematic genius.
You know that I had a really intense personal breakthrough on Friday, that I am clearly still feeling the emotional repercussions of, but I just caught myself thinking about these women today and wondering, would I really blame them like I used to blame myself for my shitty high school relationship. The answer, of course, is not in a million years. So as I continue to open these long to forgotten wounds, I like to watch these women and just feel. Feel all of the stuff that I have been keeping down for far too long.
As for my weekend, it was pretty good. I went to a party on Saturday night where I drank vodka straight out of a solo cup (only the classiest shit for me), and I got to watch the Oscars with all of the Park City folks. Nothing too exciting, but that’s okay. Sometimes you just got to relax, binge watch You’re the Worst, and let yourself off the hook. So, here I am. I’m not on the hook. Guess it’s time for me to go out and live a little.
All my loving,
P.S. WATCH THE NEWSROOM. YOU’LL LOVE IT.