I admired the new STEVE JOBS movie more than I liked it.
Oscar winning director Danny Boyle and acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin portray the Apple genius as an arrogant, cruel boss who treats people terribly for all but the last few minutes of the movie.
And by that time, the film’s intense wall, to wall-to-wall dialogue had given me a headache.
Michael Fassbender is a great actor, and he is entirely convincing as the genius behind Apple products.
But I wish the filmmakers had made clear that although this movie was inspired by the real Steve Jobs, it’s not about the actual person.
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has created a thoroughly unlikable fictional character based on Jobs by focusing on what goes on behind the scenes hours before three different product launches over a period of14 years.
Some of the movie is accurate, but lots of it isn’t. It’s psychological theorizing about why Jobs was so bad with family and co-workers but so good with the general public.
Former girlfriend: Your Apple stock is worth 441 million dollars and your daughter and her mother are on welfare.
Jobs (screaming): She’s not my daughter!
It’s true that for a few years, in spite of clear DNA results Jobs refused to believe that Lisa was his daughter.
It’s also true that he was a perfectionist who made impossible demands on his employees.
Jobs: It needs to say hello.
When the 1984 Mac’s voice program fails just before the public launch, he is livid.
Software engineer: We’re not a pit crew at Daytona. This can’t be fixed in seconds.
Jobs:You had 3 weeks; the universe was created in a third of that time.
Engineer: Well, some day you’ll have to tell us how you did it.
Steve’s first partner, Steve Wozniac (well played by Seth Rogen) doesn’t escape Job’s contempt.
Wozniac: You can’t write code. You’re not an engineer; you’re not a designer; you can’t put a hammer to a nail. I built the circuit board. The graphical interface was stolen from Xerox. So how come ten times a day I read Steve Jobs is a genius. What do you do?
Jobs: I play the orchestra and you’re a good musician. You sit there; you’re the best in your row.
The one person who stands by Jobs for almost 20 years is Joanna Hoffman played by Kate Winslet. She too tries to get through to him:
Hoffman: What you make isn’t supposed to be the best part of you. When you’re a father, that’s what’s supposed to be the best part of you.
The film’s big theory about why Jobs is a nasty control freak is that he’s still dealing with the fact that as a baby his birth parents gave him up for adoption.
Jobs: It’s having no control. You find out you were out of the loop when the most crucial set of events in your life were set in motion.
The Steve Jobs character is redeemed in the final scenes, but that change comes too sudden and too late to be believable.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org