Released on Aug. 16 with some challenging competition, especially against the much more positive “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Jobs” has received mostly negative reviews by critics and the public. The criticism is unfair with comments often arguing that Jobs deserves a better film; “Jobs” isn’t a truly great film, but the film seems to offend for its content rather than the quality of filmmaking.
After a quick scene of 2001 showing him as most people recognize him, “Jobs” begins during Steve Jobs’ (Ashton Kutcher) “hippie years,” when has dropped out of college but tries to expand his mind between studies, drugs, and a trip to India. He works at Atari and relies on friend Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) to save his job on his last chance after co-workers complain about his attitude and odor. Later, Wozniak shows him a computer project he’s working on, for which only Jobs can see the full potential. Hiring his friends Daniel Kottke (Lukas Haas), Bill Fernandez (Victor Rasuk), and Chris Espinosa (Eddie Hassell) and eventually technician Rod Holt (Ron Eldard), Jobs and Wozniak go into business developing personal computers as Apple. After many attempts at getting backers, their big break comes in the form of Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney). As they become more successful, Jobs’ anger and demanding ambition separate him from his girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan (Ahna O’Reilly), his friends, and eventually his company when John Sculley (Matthew Modine) is made CEO. Years later, when Apple is failing, Jobs is asked to return to replace Gil Amelio (Kevin Dunn) and revolutionize technology again.
Fans of the company and man will be in for a shock; “Jobs” is a very human but mostly negative portrayal of Steve Jobs. This modern god is too humanly flawed; he’s not a team player, he refuses to accept dissent, and is neither a strong family man nor friend. Extremely similar to David Fincher’s “The Social Network” about Mark Zuckerberg, “Jobs” shows the cost of being a visionary genius mostly by being a lonely jerk. What separates the two films is really only Fincher’s exceptional style, such as the moody cinematography and haunting score.
The film paints a picture of Steve Jobs as a very real person with a surprisingly good performance from Ashton Kutcher, but the Jobs presented can hardly be described as a hero. Jobs’ skills are unclear; mostly he seems to be fairly competent with technology but serves mostly as a mouth and idealistic dreamer for Apple whereas Wozniak is the worker that actualizes the vision. The least likeable moment shows Jobs refusing to accept his daughter Lisa and suggesting the likelihood of Brennan’s disloyalty.
“Jobs” is a biopic of Jobs and his life with Apple, not a memorial or tribute. The film leaves out Jobs’ childhood, his time away from Apple, and the last ten years of his life. It’s clear that Jobs heavily influenced our culture and lifestyle, but it is not an in-depth look at the man or his legacy. Writer Matt Whiteley and director Joshua Michael Stern depict Steve Jobs as less than a god, but maybe it is too soon after his death to be criticizing his personality.
Rating for “Jobs:” B
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Jobs” is playing at multiple theaters in Columbus, including Movie Tavern and AMC Lennox, Easton, Grove City, and Dublin. For showtimes, click here.