The Life of Steve Jobs, Dramatized in 3 Acts

By Kyle Hanson

Apple products have been a large part of worldwide culture over the past decade. With the iMac computers, iPods, iPads and iPhones, the creators at Apple Inc. have changed the game in technology.

Through little action and a plethora of dialogue, director Danny Boyle brings us Steve Jobs, and takes the viewer to the core of three major events in the life of the Apple CEO and co-founder: the launch of the Macintosh personal computer in 1984; the launch of the NeXT in 1988; and the launch of the iMac computer in 1998. Through each of these events, we learn a lot about Jobs as a person, in the office and in his somewhat less well-ordered personal life.

With great acting and beautiful cinematography, Steve Jobs is an early contender in the upcoming Oscar season.

The terrific Michael Fassbender portrays Jobs as a controlling, paranoid, out-to-prove-everyone-wrong-because-I’m-always-right man. At the time of the first Macintosh, we are introduced to his estranged ex-girlfriend and mother to his child, Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston); his assistant Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), his partner and friend Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogan); and Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels).

The small cast is brilliant, each with their own powerful story. Winslet is tremendous as she plays Hoffman, who is Jobs most powerful and loyal supporter through everything. The arguments and (sort of) reconciliations that occur among Fassbender and Rogan and Daniels are so intense and real, it forces the audience to believe that these actors actually hold a strong disdain for one another.

Steve Jobs is fascinating because of the way we learn about his life. The film stays in all three physical locations, yet shows so much about what is happening in his world. Jobs is a very confrontational man who demands perfection yet refuses to be the perfect parent. He distances himself from his child, even though he too had been given up for adoption when he was a baby.

Is everything in Steve Jobs accurate? Probably not, and the arguments will never end. In fact, actual stories behind how companies are made and how computers work wouldn’t make for much of an interesting movie.

Writer Aaron Sorkin also wrote the screenplay for The Social Network, which received some of the same criticisms we’re hearing about “accuracy” in Steve Jobs. The movies may be dramatized, but there wouldn’t be much entertainment value there if they weren’t (and Sorkin’s writing is at its usual snappy, briskly realistic pace, especially in the rapid dialogue exchanges).

Yet whether or not Jobs was really this mean, the audience is drawn into the way he gets amazing things done despite the personal travails. Thanks to Fassbender, no matter how rude he comes off, you still want Jobs to succeed, which of course he does.

So throw aside concerns about pure historical accuracy, and see it as it is.

As the old Apple slogan said, “Think differently.”

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