Since Steve Jobs untimely death from cancer four years ago he has been elevated to mythic status by young people and the technocracy. Alternate titles considered for this review were “A God for Geeks”, “Mythology for Millennials,” or perhaps the reliable old standard “Deus ex Machina.”
Five years ago I saw The Social Network and hated it. That was the movie about technogod Mark Zuckerberg, and the founding of Facebook. Looking back I can’t remember precisely why I disliked that movie so much—but I think it may have been because all of the main players were varying degrees of shallow, entitled and self-centered—all quintessential millennials.
Well, the irony is that now I spend quite a lot of time on Facebook. “Hi, I’m Carl and I troll for likes.” That is the beginning of my testimony for Fb-Anon.
Over the weekend some friends saw Steve Jobs and when I asked their opinion they both said “boring.” It is heavily wordy. If you like action movies this isn’t for you.
It is a kind of three act Shakespearean drama, and interestingly enough all of it is set in and around three theaters that were the sites of the much anticipated unveiling of three products: MacIntosh (1984), The Cube (1988) and the iMac (1998).
Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is of course the hero with the tragic flaw. Other persona are his estranged wife Chrisann (Katherine Waterston), his daughter Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine), his technogeek partner Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), his father figure Apple CEO John Scully (Jeff Daniels) and his PR person and apparent lover Joanna Hoffmann (Kate Winslett). All the performances are good but the Irish-German actor Fassbender gives a stunning oscar-worthy performance as Jobs.
The key to understanding Steve Jobs hinges on his being adopted. All of his life he felt rejected, unworthy and found it hard to love beyond the fear of further abandonments. Like so many victims of abandonment he compensated by striving for power and control. He acted out his anger and insecurity by being difficult and emotionally abusive toward those closest to him. This is played out especially poignantly in his relationships with his Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and with his daughter.
This is really not a movie about technology as much a meditation on pride, emotional abandonment and the turbulent relationships of a tormented artist and visionary. The writer and director try to put a happy face on the ending with Jobs having an emotional rapprochement with his daughter Lisa in the minutes before the unveiling of the iMac.
It made me want to cry.