Movie Hot Take: If you’re after fan fiction based on a cultural icon stressing the message, “It’s okay to be an asshole as long as you’re creative because even the people you crap on the most will still hang around to see your genius” then Steve Jobs is the movie for you.
It’s hard to characterize Steve Jobs. It can’t really be called a biopic since very little of it is actually true. The characters are based on real people. Events in the background of the movie’s drama happened. There’s a company called Apple. However, none of the critical scenes of the film actually happened. No, the critical scenes weren’t embellished or given a twist from their real-life counterparts… they actually didn’t happen!
Steve Jobs might be compelling at moments. It has some well written scenes that strike a nerve. The heaviness of the dialogue is relieved by the lightning-fast way it’s packaged. Oh, and it’s basically bullshit.
In an attempt to capture the personality of Jobs, Aaron Sorkin’s script presents fictional accounts of three product launches (1984’s Macintosh by Apple, 1988’s Black Cube by NeXT and 1998’s iMac by Apple) where Jobs treats those around him like complete garbage, they get exasperated for a second or two and eventually they remember Jobs is a mega-rich (also exaggerated in the film) super smart genius of a man and they forgive him through a few non-verbal indications.
Basically, Sorkin’s script reinvents the past of the man who is often credited with reinventing the future. Steve Jobs takes more liberties than Jem and the Holograms did bringing the ’80s cartoon to life. Before viewing the film, I had no knowledge of the events presented in the film. While viewing, I frequently found myself entertained by the battle of words Jobs had with the people around him but also had this feeling of disbelief toward what I was seeing. Immediately after the film, a little research confirmed, the events as presented were actually “inspired by true events” to the point where it would be disingenuous to call the film a biopic. It’s a biopic in the way Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is a biopic.
The film takes the life of a fascinating man and presents things that actually didn’t happen at highly publicized events. It’s hard to imagine why as there’s plenty about Jobs that lends itself to the big screen. The best hypothetical comparison I can come up with is if when making a biopic about Lincoln, the screenwriter presents the Gettysburg Address by having Lincoln proclaim, “I like big butts and I cannot lie. No other brother can deny. When a girl walks past with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face, you get sprung” instead of “Four score and seven years ago…”
“Spoiler Free” Pros
The film does a great job of creating the excitement around product launches.
Despite the fact nothing you are viewing is actually how it happened, it presents facts through an entertaining twisted reality. There were product launches and things happened behind the scenes but Sorkin thought it better to alter reality and present other events from Jobs’ life through these hypothetical moments. It is entertaining even if it isn’t real.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
Very little of what happened behind the scenes at the product launches in Steve Jobs actually happened in reality. It’s hard to compute why the film is getting so much Oscar buzz.
If the thought of six people arguing with Jobs three different times over the course of a decade and a half sounds entertaining, this is your movie!
Most seem to laud the way Sorkin chooses to ignore the facts when presenting his perception of Jobs’ personae. More than one review referred to the take as refreshing while acknowledging the film’s decision to throw actuality out the window. One man’s refreshing is another man’s insufferable.