Reviewed by: John Decker
|Featuring:||Ashton Kutcher … Steve Jobs
Dermot Mulroney … Mike Markkula
Josh Gad … Steve Wozniak
Lukas Haas … Daniel Kottke
Matthew Modine … John Sculley
J.K. Simmons … Arthur Rock
James Woods … Jack Dudman
Amanda Crew … Julie
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|Director:||Joshua Michael Stern|
|Producer:||Open Road Films
Five Star Institute
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|Distributor:||Open Road Films|
“Some see what’s possible, others change what’s possible.”
Director Joshua Michael Stern has a lot to say about how he set out to make the Steve Jobs’ story as close to accurate as possible. The film delivers on some of Steve’s earlier career and walks us through his monumental growth to success. Accounts are that Ashton Kutcher’s work on the subject was relentless and thorough. For my part, I believe it. I’m no expert on Steve Jobs’ life but the movie does not appear in any way to be a contrivance, and Kutcher’s impersonation of Jobs is pretty cool. [Side note: In-case you haven’t seen it, there was an interesting event with Kutcher wherein he encouraged young people that the road to success is in hard work.]
There is a bit of debate over pieces of Steve’s story being absent from the film. The period mostly missed is the mid to late 90s and everything thereafter. That’s an important part of his life to a lot of us. This movie skipped that entirely. As a result, some are calling this film a prequel. I think it’s more likely someone will come along and just make a film about his whole career-life. At least that’s what yours truly was and is most interested in seeing.
Much of the film is spent in the middle of Jobs’ story. There is so much history to portray, and it is my opinion that we get stuck in particulars. It is not an example of a well mapped out film. Jobs’ story is, after-all, not just about him but about a period of American culture. It’s about the beginnings of the Personal Computer and the influence of technological gurus and marketeers on business and culture.
The first thing to consider when pondering watching this film with a younger audience—Jobs’ story is ugly. According to the film, he neglects his pregnant girlfriend and his child for many years. He is a creative genius; most of us are inclined to believe that. He’s also a self-consumed jerk with a pattern for cruelty, or so goes the movie.
Drug References, morality, etc: The first forty minutes or so of the film is packed full of drugs and drug references. We see LSD in a bag and a bit of pot smoking. There is one very long drug re-enactment scene, where the editor attempts to put the audience in the seat of an LSD trip. There is lots of cigarette smoking in this film, much like America in the ‘70s and ‘80s, wherein there was lots of cigarette smoking.
The sexual content in “Jobs” is mostly moderate to low. More than one scene portrays a man and a woman lying next to each other in bed with some skin exposure, parts covered. There are some make-out scenes. There are some obvious camera-to-breast shots and some skin but no nudity to speak of. In one drug scene there is some more thoroughly implied sex which goes by quickly.
There is a fair amount of cursing in “Jobs.” The record of which, according to IMDB, goes like this: “About 2 F-words, 13 scatological terms, 8 anatomical terms, 12 mild obscenities and 4 religious exclamations (e.g. Jesus, Jeez and God knows what).”
As for what I got out of the film; it was inspirational. If I were to score it on those factors I would give it a 4 or 4.5 out of 5. As it stands, I am grading it as a biography, and though it appears factual, it is missing too much and lags in several spots.
Aesthetics and value of the film: It is not a pie in the sky portrayal of Steve Jobs or life itself. Real people put real sweat and tears into years of hard work to have it torn apart and consumed by a corrupt system. The power plays in this film are vicious. Creativity waits in each of us to be awakened, and only hard work will bring our dreams to fruition.
Most people think small because they are stuck in a proverbial rut. Instead, we should all pursue living life with vigor. Steve may well have taught these things with his life. These values are a sincere part of our makeup. They are a sincere part of what Steve’s life can remind us of.
There are certainly some religious overtones in the film, but there is not as much secular philosophy taught as I expected, and Steve’s trip to India and his religious influences are not highlighted much at all. The philosophical content is present in more subtle form. Certainly the film does not honor God, though it speaks frankly of some of the wonderful and not so wonderful things His creation is capable of. Certainly some of what the film attempts to inspire is outside the pale of Biblical Christianity. Creativity is not life itself, even charity or having monumental impact on the world is not life itself. God blessed Steve Jobs with some of these attributes. Like the rest of us, what he did with those qualities is his story. I, too, am convinced that we can learn from his story. Therein is the value of this film.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.