Steve Jobs is a biographical drama directed by Danny Boyle, with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, which was adapted from Walter Isaacson’s biography of the same name. The film is divided into three distinct scenes, all taking place behind the curtain before three product launches. The film opens up in 1984 before the unveiling of the Macintosh. Next the film shifts to 1988 as Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) prepares to announce his NeXTcube. Finally, the film ends in 1998 with the presentation of the revolutionary iMac.
Ever since Steve Jobs’s untimely death in 2011, the film industry has become exceedingly saturated with Jobs-related material. In addition to the numerous documentaries about the head of Apple, Ashton Kutcher gave us an unbelievably subpar portrayal of Steve Jobs in Joshua Michael Stern’s 2013 feature Jobs. I mention this recent history of Jobs-related media to highlight that I understand the public’s hesitation to go see another movie about Steve Jobs. But if you have not seen this yet, I desperately urge you to rent this immediately—this movie hits the mark in nearly every way possible!
The real geniuses behind Steve Jobs are director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Danny Boyle is the filmmaker behind award-winning films like Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, but for me, Steve Jobs is his best work yet. In this film, Boyle taps into his veteran directing style to carefully craft each scene and get the best performances out of his actors and actresses. Despite Boyle’s own brilliance, Aaron Sorkin is the single piece to this puzzle that is most imperative. Sorkin’s credits as a TV writer include heavyweights like The West Wing and The Newsroom, and his movie résumé is just as impressive, boasting scripts like A Few Good Men, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Social Network, and Moneyball. Sorkin is known in industry circles as a preeminent screenwriter due to his rapid-fire technique, and in Steve Jobs, he has provided us dialogue that I have not seen done so masterfully in years. The movie lasts for 122 minutes, and, as I mentioned, features only three scenes—this makes Sorkin’s work even more remarkable. The story is supposed to track in real time behind the scenes of these launches, which does not leave Sorkin much time to execute his oral interchanges—he feeds off that pressure. The film (evocative of a play, which Sorkin has penned many of) thrives off conversation, and with every line, Sorkin delivers hard-hitting discourse. Although the actors execute his plans via Boyle’s direction, Sorkin is at the heart of this film’s success for me, and it is an absolute abomination that the Academy snubbed him for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The acting performances in this film are exquisite; both Michael Fassbender (as Jobs) and Kate Winslet (as Joanna Hoffman, Apple’s marketing executive) were nominated for Oscars, and rightfully so. Michael Fassbender is by far one of the top five actors currently working in the film business. He has garnered immense praise for roles in Hunger, Inglourious Basterds, Shame, Prometheus, and 12 Years a Slave, and in Steve Jobs, Fassbender has killed it again. Steve Jobs was a once-in-a-generation kind of innovator, but the skeletons in his closets were always present, feeding off his stressful life. Jobs’s professional and personal lives often intersected, and Steve Jobs fiercely examines the crash course that resulted. Fassbender was always the best actor for the role, and with dexterity and intricacy, he owns the many personal and professional faces of his character. Kate Winslet additionally delivers an amazing performance, for which she has already won Best Supporting Actress at both the Golden Globes and the BAFTA Awards. Throughout Jobs’s many personal/professional-life debacles in the film, Winslet’s Joanna Hoffman is always the voice of reason that settles these issues. Winslet perfectly articulated Hoffman’s accent (a product of English mixed with her Polish and Armenian origin), and she portrays her as an incredibly strong, independent woman. It is by far one of my favorite Winslet performances of all time. Steve Jobs is rated R for language.
Steve Jobs trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEr6K1bwIVs
Academy Award nominations for Steve Jobs:
Best Actor (Michael Fassbender)
Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet)
Previous movies on the countdown of the Top 15 Films of 2015:
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Beasts of No Nation
- The Martian