With the atrocious 2013 Asthon Kutcher movie “Jobs” and its disappointing box office turn out, I understand the possible hesitation to see recently released “Steve Jobs.” However, the hesitation is not needed. Steve Jobs is one of the best movies of the year.
“Steve Jobs” is directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) and written by Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball, The Social Network). It gives you an introductory class on the life of Steve Jobs, Apple Founder and CEO (Michael Fassbender) in three parallel acts, each showing Steve interacting with a set of people that shape his life the most right before one of his famous products launches.
He has to talk to a daughter he does not claim, deal with a friend who wants nothing more than some acknowledgement, and manage the complex relationships he has with those he actually cares for.
We see both the familiar Steve we saw in TV interviews and product launches, and the less-seen Steve that could quickly turn cruel and unforgiving. There is not a thought that goes through his mind he does not express, so we get a very clear picture of who Steve Jobs, or at least this interpretation of him, was.
This screenplay is all of what you would expect from Sorkin. He also wrote “The Social Network.” If you liked that, you’ll love this. Both of these films are full of off the cuff technical jargon and bitingly clever dialogue, about a brilliant yet troubled technical genius, but I feel that Boyle was able to realize the script better than Fincher did with the “Social Network.”
Nearly the whole film is shots of Jobs simply having different conversations with people, often while walking, or brilliantly edited news sequences showing you the powerful influence that both Jobs and Apple have in this world. This is very typical of Sorkin, and it’s so well done you don’t realize how simple of a movie it is.
The script is acted beautifully. Jobs is portrayed by Michael Fassbender, and it is an outstanding performance. We see a man determined to live to the potential he sees in himself. The worst thing about Steve is also the best thing about this performance: he knows exactly how talented he is. This man truly changed the world and knew that he would. Fassbender’s voice is unrecognizable in this film. He can plays the sadistic side of the character just as well as he plays the wholesome side. You may see less of Steve than you would expect but the acting as a whole is incredible.
Jeff Daniels as always is a dramatic powerhouse as Apple CEO John Sculley, but Jeff Daniels is always Jeff Daniels. There is really no difference between his portrayal of Sculley and his role as the head of NASA in The Martian from earlier this year, but that isn’t necessarily a complaint because the man has proved time and time again that he is one of the best dramatic actors of our time. The best part of the whole film are two beautifully spliced together conversations between Jobs and Sculley taking place five years apart in an argument so intense I hardly took a breath until it ended. That scene couldn’t have worked as well as it did with out Daniels.
Kate Winslet also gave an emotional performance as Joanna Hoffman, a marketing executive for Apple who is Steve’s closest friend. She plays a very divided character, one that loves Steve but knows how truly awful he can be.
Although some close to Steve were unhappy with its inaccuracy, it is a movie. As an audience member, I didn’t care; I doubt you will either. With awards season coming up, I would not be surprised if Fassbender and Daniels both get nominations along with what I would say is a guaranteed Best Editing nomination for Elliot Graham.
Every aspect of this film is thoughtful and well executed. Its three acts could split up into short films and be three complete stories and I think that is what makes this movie so worth watching and attention grabbing. “Steve Jobs” was the best movie I have seen this year, and I can’t recommend it enough.
–Jack White, Contributing Writer