Film Review: Steve Jobs

Director: Danny Boyle

Starring: Michael Fassbender; Kate Winslet; Seth Rogen

Steve Jobs


By Hayley Skinner

Whether you care about Steve Jobs or not, most of us will be reaching for our pockets or bags and checking our iPhones as soon as the credits role. That’s the power of the man behind this biopic and although many people don’t care about where our technology comes from, this film is so much more than that.

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin takes on the complicated task of trying to make us understand a man who changed our lives but also caused so much controversy. Sorkin’s script sees the film split into three distinct acts, set backstage at three important product launches of Jobs’ career. The first, set in 1984, sees the launch of the Macintosh. Michael Fassbender is Steve Jobs who we first meet whilst he is being bombarded by his ex Chrisann (Katherine Waterston) and daughter Lisa, whom he denies is his. A refreshing take on the visionary allows us as the audience to be repelled and yet captivated by Jobs’ personality. Fassbender is the man that holds every performance together. With an appearance in practically every scene, he manages to make an intolerable character mesmerising. You feel heartbroken for his young daughter as she watches on as he denounces her as his own.

The story is more than just how Steve Jobs came to be the CEO of Apple, but rather the dynamics between him and his daughter, who we see grow throughout the film. As well as this we see Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) struggle with his old friend as he fights for Jobs to acknowledge the work of the Apple 2 team and his contribution to the products. In a brilliant scene conducted in an orchestra pit in 1984 at the launch of the NeXT computer he asks Jobs what it is he does. Jobs replies “The musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra.” It’s this sort of arrogance that is reminiscent of Sorkin’s film The Social Network where we also see a character who is unlikeable and an idea like Facebook becomes something much more interesting.

Although, Sorkin’s brilliant script carries the film, Danny Boyle’s direction of the behind-the-scenes action feels fast paced and believable. It’s not a factually accurate biopic. As Jobs himself humourlessly remarks; “Why is it that everyone decides to tell me what they think ten minutes before I go on stage?” It’s never going to be a realistic premise, but it doesn’t matter who the characters are based on, this is a three act play that feels genuinely tense. Like most of Boyle’s films, he pulls out phenomenal performances from his stellar cast including Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley, who are both at the top of their game.

Whilst we see the front of house audience take their seats and begin a series of Mexican waves and the stamping of feet, we don’t care about the products or the launches themselves. It is the characters and their relationships which is most interesting and both Boyle and Sorkin have capitalised on this.} else {