“What if the computer was a beautiful object? Something you want to look at and have in your home. And what if instead of it being in the right hands, it was in everyone’s hands?”
This movie was probably one of the most exciting ones for me this year. Not because of the subject really or the main character, but because of who wrote the movie. It’s a bit of a weird reason to be excited for a movie, right? You usually see a movie either for an actor or for the subject because you’ve seen the trailer before so you know a little about what's happening. Considering the movie is about one of the most important people in the computer business and certain important aspects of his life, this would've been enough of a reason to see it.
Let me explain: a year ago, after 3 seasons, my absolute favorite TV show ended (way too soon if you ask me). "The Newsroom", an HBO TV series created by Aaron Sorkin, had quite of a good run on TV, but its third season was shortened from 10 to 6 episodes, leaving all us fans with a hole in our lives. I really enjoyed it and I never miss the chance to watch an episode or two. I liked everything about it, even the fast-paced dialogues that most people hold against Sorkin by saying that “no one really talks like that in real life”.
So after clicking on the "Steve Jobs" movie trailer and seeing Aaron Sorkin’s name there and also Danny Boyle as the director, the period until the premiere turned into a countdown for me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate what Steve Jobs accomplished and I admire him to a certain extent, but I am not a hard core fan of his products. Nonetheless, I do enjoy a good biography. Given that the movie was written by Sorkin and was following the authorized biographical book by Walter Isaacson (I have yet to read it), it had to be a good movie.
I did see one or two documentaries before, I saw “Pirates of Silicon Valley” which I found a bit boring and did not enjoy the acting so much, and I also saw the previous “Jobs” movie which I can only recommend as a Sunday movie. When I saw Michael Fassbender was going to play Steve Jobs, I knew it was going to be a good one. I was not proven wrong. Fassbender was really good and convincing.
I also enjoyed the movie as a whole.
It starts with a video from 1974 where Arthur C. Clarke, a famous sci-fi author, is asked about the future. Talking about the year 2001, he predicted not only that we will all have a PC that would fit on our desks at home, but also that we would use it to manage aspects of our lives, communicating with one another no matter how far away and would allow us to work outside our offices and we would not be stuck in one place for work. You can see the video below:
The movie goes on to the big launch of the Macintosh computer, more exactly in the backstage, where we see Steve Jobs talking with his employees and managing a last minute crisis: the fact that he wanted his computer to say “hello!” but it didn’t want to say it in time for the presentation. He was urging his employees to do something about it and, in the process, also threatening some with public shaming. We also get to know Joanna Hoffman, Steve’s “work wife” as he calls her in the film, which was in charge of marketing, but also one of the people who pushed Steve towards making amends with his daughter Lisa.
The next two big events, we witness the backstage of, are the launch of NeXT, Jobs’ project when he was away from Apple and then his big return to Apple when he launched the famous colored iMac. We go on to see his relationship with his daughter as she grows up and with her mother, interactions with his long time friend Steve Wozniak, played by Seth Rogen, who he started Apple with and we also see a lot of John Scully, played here by Jeff Daniels, the former Pepsi CEO that Jobs brought to Apple with the now famous line “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”. The movie makes out of Scully a father figure for Steve, also bringing into focus, through their exchanges, the fact that Steve was adopted and that his aspiration to do great things and be remembered by the public was because he might have felt he was rejected when his parents gave him away to be adopted.
The whole movie gives you the feel of a stage production or of an actual play because of its three act structure, intense drama and fast pace at times. It made me think about “Birdman” a bit to be honest. This kind of approach felt fresh, it was a good change from the usual way biographies are done.
There were also a couple of smartly put moments that stuck with me, one that was about the choice of “Apple” as the name of the company when we are shown a big image of Alan Turing, the man who basically invented computers, and Jobs asks a journalist if he knows the person in the picture and telling him that Turing died by apple poisoning. The journalist asked if that’s where he got the name and Steve said “wouldn’t that have been a nice story to tell.”
The other moment I am referring to was in the middle of a conversation between Steve and his grown up daughter Lisa, before the launch of the iMac, where he said he was tired of seeing her carry her big Walkman and that he was going to fit 500 to 1000 songs in her pocket, obviously hinting at the launch of the iPod.
Leaving my admiration for Aaron Sorkin’s writing behind, I really think “Steve Jobs” is a movie that is worth watching not only because of the really good acting of Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels, but also because of the fact that it gives insights into Steve Jobs’ life that we might’ve not known before and also because this might be the movie that could actually turn you into an Apple fan if you weren’t before. It successfully manages to show you the struggle of Steve Jobs to achieve the goal of making computers friendly and wanted by everyone in their homes, how Arthur C. Clarke said, and also shows you how passionate he was about his company and his work without compromising and always pushing himself and his employees further and further towards admirable results staying true to his vision and ambitions.