How Realistic Are These Movies Set In Silicon Valley?

Sam MacKinnon | April 8, 2021 | Lifestyle Feature

These films set in Silicon Valley give both exaggerated and realistic takes on what life is like here in the country’s tech hub.

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The Social Network

It’s nearly impossible to fault an Aaron Sorkin script that revolves around the fast-paced world of the tech industry, and a specific focus on the life of Mark Zuckerberg makes the film even richer. Its portrayal of the tech giant and the meteoric rise of Facebook is not only incredibly entertaining but also solidly realistic in its portrayal of the assumed cutthroat nature of tech startups. It sells audiences everywhere on the romanticization of the tech world, even if their version is a little on the darker side. Sony Pictures

Steve Jobs

Set in the ’80s hours before the unveiling of the Apple Macintosh 128k, this movie about the intensity of Apple’s eccentric CEO offers a glimpse into Silicon Valley’s past. The time period and content give the film a gritty overtone and bleak viewpoint, but in terms of being realistic, the film pays incredible homage to Jobs. Full of heartthrobs, drama and computers, this movie feels true to form in its portrayal of the Bay Area’s most competitive industry. Universal Pictures

The Inventor

Charting the rise and fall of disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, this documentary works hard to maintain realism in a world of fantasy that Holmes created around her company. Never truly condemning Holmes is what causes the film to be understood more as a case study around the culture of Silicon Valley. Featuring actual interviews with numerous individuals associated with the company, The Inventor sets out to portray this moment in history as realistically as possible, and does so successfully. Jigsaw Productions


A psychological thriller about a Big Brother-esque tech company with a charismatic and mysterious CEO sounds not too far-fetched, but this Ryan Phillippe movie is all fantasy. Cataloging the shady dealings of a company called NURV (Never Underestimate Radical Vision), this flick consistently ups the ante to the point where no one in protagonist Milo Hoffman’s life can be trusted. Despite the film being unrealistic, it offers a fun fantasy portrayal of the industry. Industry Entertainment

The Internship

Don’t you wish that some movies were real? The Internship offers peak Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson humor as they apply for an internship at Google and are tasked with competing in a series of challenges against other interns to secure full-time jobs at the company. A fever dream of debauchery and comical hijinks, this movie makes little effort to capture the reality of Silicon Valley, instead opting for a wildly entertaining portrayal. New Regency

Photography by: Photo by Charles Deluvio/Unsplash