Once again our good friend Tyler Richardson is back here lending us his amazing movie reviewing skills from Latino-Review. This week he’s reviewing Steve Jobs staring Michael Fassbender.
Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicenter.
There will be no comparisons to the other Steve Jobs films of recent years. That is because a conscious effort was made to hold off. Was Steve Jobs worth the wait? A thousand times “YES!” This felt like a play, with simple sets, dependent on dialogue and a gripping story. And, boy did everyone involved knock it out of the park. Okay, let’s really get into it.
The character of Steve Jobs comes across as socially indifferent as some anti-Apple enthusiasts would tell it. But, even the biggest admirer of his work has to admit that he was not one to bend his vision. Early in the film Jobs continues to drive the point home that the Macintosh will change the world. It is joked that he sees himself as God, and you can tell he feels his announcement is as important as the 10 Commandments.
One of this picture’s greatest achievements is showing that even when defeated, Jobs’ belief in his genius did not waiver. It speaks to the dialogue (Aaron Sorkin for the win), and the heartfelt acting, that the audience still roots for a man so easy to dislike. Several meta conversations transpire that bring up that very point. Yet, if this portrayal is to be believed, the man was still beloved by millions despite this behavior.
There are five characters this film chose to utilize in telling Jobs’ story. Since this is not the first telling of Steve Jobs’ life, a very unique approach was needed, and worked perfectly. The lack of a wide cast makes the movie feel isolated. But, this isolation allows for each interaction to grab, and hold our attention. It is an excellent device, and as the film builds, we look forward to seeing a particular character again to see what has transpired since. Most of them want nothing more than to see Jobs succeed, despite himself, and to be a better father.
Kate Winslet plays Joanna Hoffman wonderfully. Her interaction with Jobs is the perfect combination of flirting, and a strength that comes with silence. She may be the only character Jobs interacts with where he is able concede defeat in conversation. She is a great compliment to such a strong character, and does not allow the scenes to be dominated by Jobs.
Seth Rogen as Steven “Woz” Wozniak is surprising. Expectations might lead us to believe a comedic relief is in store. Instead, Rogen makes Woz affable and humble. We feel sorry for him, standing next to a visionary when on paper Woz was more successful up initially. At least, in the beginning, and his attitude and argument for his own stature are arguable. Why is he relegated to the Ringo Starr role in the Beatles band that Jobs played Lennon?
Michael Stuhlbarg makes Andy Hertzfeld into a character that we can easily sympathize with. When we meet him he is at the end of a seemingly endless barrage of threats. We want him to overcome his task, and his likability begs for more interaction with Jobs. As things progress in the story, we see more of a man willing to take a stand, and that is willing to do what’s needed in Jobs’ life. The last meeting between Jobs and Hertzfeld is bittersweet, but fitting given the circumstances.
Jeff Daniels as John Sculley creates a wonderful father figure for Jobs. While Sculley may not have seen Jobs defeated in conversation, he does bring his vulnerabilities to the surface. He is one of the few people that are able to make Jobs step out of his guard and be human. Daniels probably has the most humor in his delivery, but not in a camp way. The character is grounded and has a dry wit of the “cool dad.” Daniels continues to show us with performances like this, he is just hitting his prime.
Lisa Jobs is played by three different actresses (Perla Haney-Jardine at 19, Rippey Sobo at age 9, and Makenzie Moss at age 5). Each does a magnificent job at portraying a daughter who just wants time with her dad. The earliest wants nothing more than a father to complete her family. At age 9, the same daughter wants to support her father who she understands is thinking ahead of his time. Lastly, a college student that understands what Jobs has put her mother through, and sees him for the man he is. Every actress leaves their stamp Lisa’s character and it is a shame we only see each on one occasion.
What caught my attention?
- Lisa’s walk down a hallway riddled with Macintosh reviews was beautifully done. Director Danny Boyle places his stamp on this movie in very subtle ways.
- “Don’t play stupid, you can’t pull it off.”
- The picking of iMac’s shark photo is a hilarious break in the middle of an intense rehearsal.
- Immediately following the shark bit, we are treated to a great public shouting match between Jobs and Wozniak. I call this scene “nobody move!”
Steve Jobs is a film that lives up to the legacy Jobs left behind. Fassbender deserves acclaim for his portrayal of a man so convinced he would change the world, then did. At Jobs most unlikable moments, we understand where he is coming from, and are able to accept him. That is no small feat, given his abrasive nature and proclivity to hurt those closest to him. Watching this film was enjoyable from start to finish. I hope everyone has the same experience, but let us know how you felt in the comments.