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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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The second coming of Steve Jobs, trailer edition

I’ve watched it a couple times now, and I still have mixed feelings.

Part of me thinks they would have been better off calling it Dave Jones or something, but I also realize that the whole point is that it’s about Steve Jobs. That said, I think it’s clear there’s going to be a disconnect to how much this reflects the actual Jobs, just as you could argue about how much The Social Network actually reflected Mark Zuckerberg.1

That said, I’m a fan of directory Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, Millions), who never seems to fall back on making the same movie twice, and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, Sports Night).2

Despite the premise that the action in the film takes place behind the scenes of three major product launches, it’s clear that it goes elsewhere beyond that scope: the garage in the early days of Apple, Jobs’s ousting, and his troubled relationship with his daughter Lisa all figure into the trailer.

There will be a lot of people that take issue with what they see as this film’s failure to stick to the historical and factual record, and while there are valid concerns about some aspects—in particular, the diminished role of women key to Apple’s efforts—it’s also important to remember that this isn’t a documentary; it’s a work of fiction, inspired by real people and situations.3 In a movie that runs two hours or less, you can’t really do justice to a person who lived to 56, much less an almost 40-year-old company with thousands of employees.4 I can’t think of a single biopic or historical drama that hasn’t taken some degree of flack for occasionally sacrificing historical accuracy in the name of drama.

In short: I’m reserving judgment until I see the whole movie. To my mind, there are two perfectly valid—and distinct—questions here: whether it’s accurate and whether it’s good. And neither of those qualities can really be judged from a two-minute trailer.


  1. There’s been much criticism of whether or not Fassbender looks like Jobs. I think he’s a good actor, and while he may not particularly pull a Noah Wyle here, it doesn’t bother me that much. Plenty of people have played historical figures without strongly resembling them; it’s just that the image of Jobs was so thoroughly documented and is burned into so many of our brains.  ↩

  2. I’m aware that Sorkin has become a divisive figure. And while he’s not without his flaws, I don’t think you can deny that the man’s talents at pithy dialogue are second to none. ↩

  3. The Ashton Kutcher Jobs movie from a few years ago was no better when it came to excising people from history. ↩

  4. That is, until the inevitable Ken Burns PBS documentary series.  ↩