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Realism, as a genre, has a certain characteristics, as do all genres.  They are the following:

  • Accuracy – ‘Realism strives for absolute accuracy in the depiction of its subjects, devoid of any unnecessary dramatics or artistic affectation’
  • Honesty – ‘Realism seeks the depiction of honesty, rather than hiding things behind distortions or opinions’
  • Independence – ‘Philosophical realism stresses the independence of objects from their observer’
  • Ordinariness – ‘The subjects of realistic works are defined not by their exceptional nature, but by how ordinary they are’
  • Difficulties – ‘Realistic protagonists are often beset by great forces beyond their control and in many cases they do not triumph in their struggle’


The first scene I have chosen to analyse from ‘The Social Network’ is the scene where Eduardo Saverin’s, co-founder of Facebook, position in Facebook is practically diminished.  This also links to the relationship between Saverin and Napster co-founder, Sean Parker, who’s character also appears in the film, played by Justin Timberlake.

The film depicts that Saverin signed contracts that resulted in his shares dropping 0.03% and is name being removed as CFO on the site.  So far, this all happened in real life too.  The actual exit of Eduardo’s character in the film is him confronting Mark Zuckerburg about it in the Facebook offices and have a little dispute with Sean Parker, implying that they never got on through the whole time of working together (Parker says ‘you think we’d let you parade around in your ridiculous suits, pretending you wre running this company?” and Eduardo says that he likes standing next to Parker because “it makes me look so tough”).  It is clear from the beginning that Eduardo doesn’t like Parker as throughout the film he would say comments implying that, such as “we don’t need him” and “he was paranoid”, as well as never looking happy during their first meeting.  This dislike carries on through the film.

However, as I have mentioned in a previous post, the real Sean Parker said that the film is “a complete work of fiction” and Eduardo Saverin’s exit “frustrated me” and is “just rude” when “I consider Eduardo a friend of mine”.  These things he said completely go against the feeling that the film portrays between the two.  If Eduardo and Sean really were friends then Sean wouldn’t have said and acted the way he did when Eduardo was told what happened to his position in Facebook.  Therefore, the film’s version of their relationship and Eduardo’s exit could be false if what Sean Parker said is true.  This could then give the audience a false idea of what really happened between them and when Eduardo left.

The scene I have chosen to analyse from ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ is the one where Anne Boleyn is beheaded as this is an actual true event that happened.  Therefore, I can look how this true event has been portrayed in a movie.

In real life, Anne Boleyn was beheaded at the Tower of London.  However, in the film the execution of Anne Boleyn was filmed at Dover Castle.  Although Dover Castle ‘made a very convincing Tower of London’, it was not and therefore it could be said that the location of Anne’s death in the film is misleading and gives the viewer false information.  On the other hand, looking at the reasons why this scene may have been filmed in a different location to where it actually happened, one of them may be that the crew were not allowed access into the Tower of London to film the scene and therefore had to find a different yet similar location to film it.

According to historians, in Anne Boleyn’s execution, her ladies removed all her accessories, including her neckalces, robe and headdress.  In the film, Anne Boleyn removed these items herself.  The robe that Anne was thought to be wearing was made with ermine fur and in the film, they made a very good job of making or actually using this fur for robe used in the film.  Before she was beheaded, Anne Boleyn repeated “To Jesus Christ I commend my soul” (or something similar – there are several reports of what she actually said) and in the film they had Anne Boleyn say something very similar (“Sweet Jesus, I commend my soul to thee”).  When Anne was beheaded, she blindfolded, but in the film they did not put a blindfold on her.  These things are very minor in how they affect the audience and their views on what actually happened as they are not the event itself.  Although not all of these things in the film are the same as true life, a lot of them are and it just shows how much this film crew put in to make it as close to the truth as possible and how much attention they paid to detail.



‘Esp. in reference to art, film, and literature: close resemblance to what is real; fidelity of representation, rendering the precise details of the real thing or scene.’ – OED definition of the word ‘realism’

Realism first actually came about when Aristotle was around.  ‘For characters in a tragedy to be believable, for instance, they must be noble, that is to say slightly more virtuous than the citizens watching the play, and they must act and speak in accordance with their rank in society.’

Realism (in visual arts) is basically attempting to make what they are making seem as real as possible to the truth.  A lot of the time, in films, the events or characters etc. are not real or as real as they could be, they are distorted, and, therefore, the film, or scenes in the film, do not contain realism.  This is known as artistic licence; distorting the truth, which, in turn, makes it untrue.

Because of certain limitations in films and other reasons, it can be incredibly difficult, maybe even impossible, to make a film entirely true to what happened, if it is a film about something that actually happened.  Therefore, the question has to be asked as to whether a film can ever really be portrayed entirely truely.



‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ is primarily aimed at women who are interested in English history and the Royal family.  This is because the story is mainly about two women.

‘It’s all the true lives of some powerful and unfortunate people’ – Cinerina, Rottontomatoes.com

This reviewer says that this story is the true story of what happened to the the characters in real life.  However, as many reports have said that the story is not 100% accurate, this person may think that it is because it is what they were being told by the movie.  This is probably the dominant reading of the film as they want you to believe what is happening in it.

On the other hand, most of the other reviewers have said things like ‘A run-of-the-mill costume drama that made me think more about running home and Wikipedia-ing the characters than investing in the story before me’ and ‘The film gets a full ‘This is a work of fiction’ disclaimer, even noting that any resemblance to any person living or dead is unintentional. That tells you something about how much trust to put in these historical CliffsNotes’, which obviously show that they do not put their trust into the films historical knowledge.  This is most probably the oppositional reading as the people do not believe that what is going on in the film is true.  This is also reinforced by websites such as www.rottentomatoes.com giving it scores like 42% and www.metacritic.com giving it 50/100.


‘…according to experts, it’s full of factual inaccuracies.’

Some historians believe that ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ does have wrong facts in it, but according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Other_Boleyn_Girl#Specifics_regarding_historical_accuracy it seems to just be about the characters personalities and a few of their actions, such as Anne Boleyn’s characterisation and motives, saying she was actually ‘loyal to her family’ rather than ‘ruthlessly ambitious’ as the film depicts, and the incest between Anne and her brother George Boleyn.


As this film is set a very long time ago, it is hard to know what is actually true that happened.  We know that Anne Boleyn did marry King Henry VIII.  However, we don’t know about the way it happened (for example, the film suggests that the King used to sleep with Anne Boleyn’s sister, Mary, before marrying her and Anne Boleyn saying that she wouldn’t sleep with him until he married her).  A lot of critics have said that the film is fictional (Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, said in his review that it plays ‘loose with English history’), apart from obvious ture events such as the execution of Anne Boleyn and Henry divorcing Catherine of Aragon etc.

The King is portrayed as a selfish greedy man as he is an angry man (find an example), just wants a male heir, no matter who gives it to him and cruelly pushes and uses people around.  This is obviously not a very good representation of him and his personality.

The two Boleyn sisters are not really portrayed very well either as Anne Boleyn just seems to stand on anyone to get were she wants, even her own sister (find an example) and Mary Boleyn…(find an example).

As this film is set in a period of time which was a long time ago, it gives the creators of it free range of artistic license as there is no one who can say what actually, truly happened as no one is still alive who witnessed it, obviously.  Therefore, no one can say what in the film is wrong or right.  This can also make it more likely to be untrue as they can change it as they please.  Some people will say that some things in it are wrong but we don’t know for sure what really happened at the time before, during and after Anne Boleyn became Queen, apart obvious facts such as Anne being beheaded and her giving birth to Elizabeth I.

‘The Social Network’ is obviously aimed at people who have or are interested in Facebook.  It may seem that it is aimed at men as all the main characters are men, but many women have and wanted to see this film, so it is aimed at both genders; basically, the Facebook generation.  It may also be aimed at people who don’t have Facebook but still want to find out more, or people who have an interest in business, as Facebook is a business.

‘The Social Network’ is based on the book ‘The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal’ by Ben Mezrich, published in 2009.  Ben Mezrich is an American author from Princeton, New Jersey.  Mezrich has stated that this book is not a work of fiction.  The co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin, served as Mezrich’s main consultant for the story.  Saverin is a Brazilian-American entrepreneur.  Therefore, it would seem that the message of this story that he is trying to get across is the true story of what actually happened.

Aaron Sorkin then adapted the book into a screenplay for the film version.  Sorkin is an American screenwriter, producer and playwrite from New York City, New York.  The director of the film, David Fincher, is also an American, but is from Denver, Colardo.

The majority of the main people behind this story and producing this film are American in some way or another.  This could have an effect on how people from other countries perceive the film as they will have different beliefs and ideologies to America.  However, the film received huge box office success and positive reviews from critics so maybe most people can see the dominant/preferred reading of this text.  The film is probably also trying to achieve what the book is: the true story of the founding of Facebook.

On the other hand, not everyone agrees with the preferred reading.  Armond White really slated the film in his review of it, saying that several things result in ‘the film’s failure’, describes Jesse Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg as having a viciousness’ and ‘selfishness’ about him and the film shows ‘a frighteningly casual presentation of the self-righteous hostility that has become Internet etiquette’.  He thinks that the film has a selfish and horrible protagonist and shows how the internet is a dangerous and destructive place, which reflects America’s society


As well as the characters being put under scrutiny, the university that they attend in the film has also been criticised for being portrayed wrongly.  Nathan Heller says in his review that ‘to get the university this wrong in this movie is no small matter’.


There have been many critics who have said that in the film Mark Zuckerberg comes across as ‘a borderline sociopath’ and ‘is hardly a radiator of warmth’ and ‘that he was motivated mainly by opportunities for social climbing’, and this is how the film appears to depict him.  However, the director of the film, David Fincher, has been said to have said “he did not think that Mark ever did anything wrong” (Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter, ‘on working with David Fincher’ – http://www.thesocialnetwork-movie.com/), even though he was sued by at least four people, accused for stealing the idea of Facebook and humiliated his ex-girlfriend on the internet.  I think that this is perhaps a matter of opinion.

Nathan Heller, a former graduate of Harvard university, claims to have briefly known Mark Zuckerberg ‘not especially well’ and says that ‘Jesse Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg is a withdrawn, wounded recluse who spirals across campus with his head locked down, answering questions in a quick, high-strung rodent voice’ but the real Mark Zuckerberg ‘was outwardly friendly, often smiling, confident, inclined, if anything, to talk at outdoor volume’.  This may give you a real insight in to how wrongly the film’s version of Mark Zuckerberg is and what he is like in real life.  However, as he claims to have ‘briefly’ known him, we don’t know how true he is being; he could be lying to have a ‘claim to fame’.


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