A substantial chunk of "The Social Network" takes place on the campus of Harvard University, the elite Cambridge school attended by Zuckerberg. So how realistic is the Harvard depicted by director David Fincher? Not very, says Nathan Heller, a copy editor at Slate and a Harvard classmate of Zuckerberg's. (Heller and Zuckerberg were acquaintances, Heller reports.)
Most problematic for Heller is that Harvard appears in the movie as a "citadel of old money, regatta blazers, and (if I am not misreading the implication here) a Jewish underclass striving beneath the heel of a WASP-centric, socially draconian culture." This simply wasn't the case, Heller points out.
"There were some kids at Harvard, in my era, with an interest in whatever gaunt remnants of old-style affluence remained, but the impulse was nostalgic and theatrical more than ambitious – people who arrive in the Ivy League these days do not come from black-tie dinners and wood-paneled rooms, nor do they enter such milieus after they leave," Heller writes.