The long-awaited Steve Jobs biopic (directed by Joshua Michael Stern) does more than just describe the vision of Apple, or simply capture the dream of its legendary co-founder and leader on screen. It manages to explore the life, career, and personal relationships of an innovative, celebrated and highly complicated man (played by Ashton Kutcher), taking audiences into the underground technical world of Silicon Valley in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.
The movie succeeds in creating a realistic setting- everything from Kutcher’s hair to the characters’ wardrobes, hairstyles and mannerisms fits the era. As an ambitious young tech genius working out of his parents’ garage, Jobs shares his vision with friend and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) as the duo struggles to launch their now-famous company. When a determined, steely-eyed Jobs brings his initial computer board into a local shop after meeting the owner at the annual Homebrew Computer Club convention, the mood for the rest of the film is already set- one of striving and struggling to reach the top.
Despite many of Steve Jobs’ character flaws and faults being portrayed throughout the film accurately (with slight overacting and overly intense facial expressions at times from Ashton Kutcher, however), many of the Apple founder’s positive attributes are displayed as well. With an emphasis on believing in your dreams and realizing that authority can very often be in the wrong, the movie has a strangely youthful and energetic quality to it. Shot mainly in dark, neutral scenes (in keeping with the decade, of course), the serious tone of Jobs is broken up with a joke here or there from Woz, as the easygoing other half of the operation.
We learn more of Jobs’ early denial of his daughter Lisa (with girlfriend Chris-Ann), his often quick temper, and workaholic nature. As Kutcher says in one scene “My job isn’t to be nice to people- it’s to make them better at their jobs.”
Although the movie spends a great amount of time on the deceased Apple CEO’s early career and young adult years, it also very quickly cuts to later scenes and moments at a few points, and spends more time than necessary detailing boardroom interactions in dramatic tones. Other than the emphasis on all the tiny details (after all, it IS Apple), jOBS takes us on a journey from garage to corner office, from rags to riches- and most importantly, makes it all appear possible and relatable on the screen.