When you put someone as esteemed as Danny Boyle, and someone as impressive as Aaron Sorkin into a melting pot of talent with an objective of paying homage to an icon in the form of Steve Jobs, you just already know that all is going to be right. Over the years (more like decades) people have plentifully paid odes to the enigma and legacy that is Jobs. Books, biographies, documentaries, biopics we’ve seen them all. Boyle and Sorkin had this conundrum of putting something out that stood apart from all of them. Or so you’d think.
The beauty of Steve Jobs is simply that all those other homages don’t matter. If you enjoyed them, then good for you. If you haven’t, it doesn’t matter. This story is meant to be a direct adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s exclusively written Steve Jobs’ biography. To top that, Sorkin, even directly used Steve Wozniak for historical accuracy. Even more amusingly, I’ve read that Jobs’ daughter happened to speak with Sorkin with regard to his script ( after apparently refusing to do so with Isaacon for the biography).
Everything about this is right so far. Could it get any better? Of course it can. All you have to do as add a glorified star-cast to the mix. With Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels and Katherine Waterston bagging all the main roles, this movie was already set to be a hit.
This movie isn’t yet another retelling of Jobs’ saga. This is something much more intimate than that. This boils down to Jobs and his relationships with certain key people. That being said, the popular Jobs’ saga of success is the undertone that’s narrated across three acts of different timelines. We get to watch Jobs’ broken relationship with his daughter, his secured reliance on Joanne Hoffman, the Wozniak friendship and interestingly even the whole John Scully dynamic. Michael Stuhlbarg’s brilliant portrayal of Andy Hertzfield only makes us respect Hertzfield that much more. Fassbender is phenomenal as jobs to the effect that I’m at no point distracted that this is Fassbender only acting.
With Sorkin’s usual crisp dialogue, Boyle’s style of neat cinema, and acting as uniform as these guys, this movie is enlightening and captivating at the same time.
So is this movie really that perfect?
Umm..not really. It hit the nail with its execution. But there were so many liberties that could have been taken, and so many risks that they could have chanced. Jobs is a phenomenally convenient subject for someone like Sorkin. And that portrayal is put across, where you may not necessarily agree with Jobs, but somehow you still feel him. Boyle plays this safe by not inclining towards any dramatisation of Jobs’ life despite grazing on his personal life. Which in foresight was probably just to avoid crossing the line when it comes to the audience taking the film seriously. Moreover, if those dramatisations do matter so much to you, there are loads of other movies on Jobs that do just that. I wish there were more relationships explored though. Like the one with Gates. Which is probably again done loads of times, but this would have been more reliable. Even the interesting interactions with the likes of Bono that Isaacson has touched upon in this book. Granted that this movie gives more respect to a good story as opposed to glamourising the biography with convenient pop culture inclusion.
You would likely enjoy this movie just for itself. If you’re a tech fan that admires the IT revolution of 80’s through 90s, you might like this more. Even more if you’re an Apple fanboy. And most certainly if you’re a Steve Jobs fan.
Anuj is a musician and writer who moonlights as an engineer. Being a massive movie/TV show enthusiast, if only he could get could paid for watching anything and everything. This Hogwarts alumnus is one with the Force, and the Force is one with him.