Chandler Kilgore-Parshall ’16/ Emertainment Monthly writer
It’s hard to believe Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple Inc., lived the life he has. From being the CEO of his computer empire, then to be usurped and seven years later returned to Apple. The entrepreneur Jobs has been described as the “Father of the Digital Revolution”, but what made him successful?
Director Joshua Michael Stern (who directed Swing Vote and Neverwas) brought a biopic approach to Jobs. This movie chronicled key points of the Apple CEO’s rise. Sadly, this portrayal of Steve Jobs’ life fell flat, as it does not live up to personifying the greatness of the prodigy.
While actors like Ashton Kutcher and J.K. Simmons delivered their best, the characters aren’t fully fleshed out. Some characters constantly pop in and out of the movie seemingly having some relation to Steve, yet the movie’s inattention to defining these people was a giant flaw as I was like: “Who is this guy again? Where was he in the movie?” Apparently, the minor characters have their own motives and personalities, but if the film doesn’t take the time to explain why they add something to the story (besides a cheesy pep talk/monologue), it’s meaningless to throw them back into the plot.
Kutcher was very meticulous about his acting method. As if he was channeling Jobs himself, Ashton walked the way Jobs did, spoke fluidly, and had the same look of determination the former CEO had. Everything else from a narrative perspective failed horribly. His short time at Reed College up until the time he spent at his company felt rushed, instead of exploring the heart and soul of this once great man. By the end, this exposé of Jobs made him seem more like a jerk. There was nothing redeeming about Jobs. He alienated his supportive friends and family while he built computers in the garage and refused to take responsibility for his actions. From this we’re supposed to root for Steve Jobs’ success? This movie tries to shove down this idea that having almost no moral integrity and only the drive to succeed is impressive, which it is not.
Writing a review on Jobs was unpleasant to say the least. Watching Jobs was just grueling. While there were a few positives like some excellent performances by well-known actors and the original score (by John Debney and Josh Debney), not much saved Jobs from becoming a Lifetime TV movie. It tried too hard to be like Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network, which focused similarly on a man’s rise and fall to success through invention and innovation. The film’s big message was like swallowing a bitter pill as it doesn’t leave you feeling good. Because of the direction and writing, Jobs felt shallow and underwhelming. It never had any tension, or human moments that would leave us with a different perspective on Apple’s founder. If you want to learn more about Steve Jobs, go to your local bookstore and pick up his biography, but don’t spend your money on a forgettable biopic that fails to present a deeper insight into his life.