It is nearly impossible to measure the impact Steve Jobs had on the technical and social communities of the world. I am typing this review on a Macintosh, I got my tickets to “Steve Jobs” using my iPad and I used my iPhone to remind myself to complete this review.
The film fulfilled all my expectations, as director Danny Boyle pulled no punches in examining the sordid relationship between Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender), his company and his family. Fassbender, who portrayed Job perfectly, almost fully redeemed the horror that was Ashton Kutcher’s biopic attempt with an intimate look at the life of a legend. Despite the controversy surrounding Jobs’s perceived arrogance and brash intolerance of others, the film remained largely objective and allowed the viewers to draw their own conclusions regarding the CEO of America’s largest public company.
The film opens with Jobs preparing for the public launch of the original Macintosh. Jobs pushes his technicians to the near breaking point, as he threatens one employee after another with termination or worse in a desperate attempt to make his creation speak to the crowd for itself. In the middle of the busy event, his ex-girlfriend walks in with a young girl that we learn everyone but Jobs believes to be his daughter. In a touching moment, he notices the young girl looking at the Macintosh in the corner of his prep room. He walks over and gently shows her how to operate the machine so many of us are now familiar with. The scene portrays a complete departure from the angry tone that dominated the rest of the film and presents a redeeming perspective on the complicated figure.
The film then follows Jobs’ experiences throughout the unveiling of his next two products, the Next computer and the iMac, while providing flashbacks of his separation from his closest friends and eventually his own company.
Perhaps the most compelling facet of the film was the relationship between Jobs and his best friend Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen). While Jobs had “conducted the symphony” that was Apple, Wozniak was viewed as the technical mastermind behind the products. However, throughout the film the two continuously bash heads over Jobs’s unwillingness to keep Apple 2, one of the largest profit centers of the company at the time, as the company moved forward to bigger and better things.
The story consolidates a decade’s worth of turmoil between the two figures in a large public dispute at the final unveiling as Wozniak challenges Jobs to be both “gifted and decent.” The argument ultimately represents the culmination of Jobs’ professional victory and the continuation of his personal struggle to come to terms with the rejection he felt in his abandonment and subsequent adoption as an infant, a recurring theme throughout the film.
“Steve Jobs” found a reasonable balance point between Jobs the visionary and Jobs the perceived narcissist. While debate continues today regarding the validity of Jobs’s fame and credit for the success of Apple, the film allows viewers to weigh the two sides without a concrete conclusion being created. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin did his best to remain impartial throughout the story and even interviewed Lisa Jobs, Steve Jobs’s daughter, in order to gain a more accurate account of the events. Despite the large divide between fans and critics of Apple’s most famous CEO, I believe that “Steve Jobs” allows all viewers to more personally understand the man who helped revolutionize modern technology.