Steve Jobs movie full length review - Steve Jobs
The best biopics are the ones that show their subject as the flawed individual that they are while also showing how their particular flaws and strengths are what propelled them to greatness, and sometimes threw them back down.
Take, for instance, "Raging Bull", "Schindler's List", "Lawrence of Arabia", "Amadeus", "The Assassination of Jesse James", and Sorkin's own "The Social Network". I'm happy to rank "Steve Jobs" among those films.
Okay, so maybe it's a gross exaggeration to call it quite as good as those films, but it gets pretty much everything right, and it is probably the best film of 2015. The film is structured as sort of a 3 act play, with each act taking place right before 3 very important reveals for Apple. Although rather than starting at the beginning of Steve's career, it starts at probably his worst decline in his career, starting with the Macintosh conference. The first thing that we learn about Steve is that he needs everything exactly the way he wants it, no matter the cost. He is desperately trying to get the computer to say "hello" only 45 minutes before the conference starts, even though the chief programmer tells him multiple times that it's impossible. We learn that Steve requires everything in his life to be under his control, which is why he doesn't want Wozniak to give the computer 8 slots, but 2 instead ("end to end control") and it's why he pushes out his daughter, since he believes he can't control her ("Your sons and daughters are beyond your command"). This fear of lack of control seems to go all the way back to when Steve was an infant and was adopted not once, but twice. However, his love for his daughter does shine through in moments, because he is, after all a human. During the middle passage of the film, Steve has been fired from Apple and is now trying to create the "black box" at his new company, NEXT. At this point, he knows it's going to flop. He doesn't even have an OS ready for the conference, but rather a demo version of it. He is only starting to realize that he doesn't understand, as his daughter (and Jon Mitchell) puts it, "life, love and clouds". He is beginning to realize that everything is beyond his control. He now has even stronger feelings towards his daughter and when he gave money to his ex-wife, she spent it poorly. He was also fired from his job (in anew incredibly well written and edited scene) despite fighting hard against it, and even though it wasn't solely John Sculley's fault (in fact, he was just trying to let him off the hook easy), Steve pins it on Sculley, and refuses to apologize, because he didn't at least try to stand up for him. Still, Steve devises a plan to maintain control and it works.
This time, Steve Jobs is back at Apple and introducing his new product, the iMac. He has come full circle and back to the top with sales predicted at 1 million, but he still has things to sort out. He has a conversation with Andy Hertzfeldt, the man he was forcing to make the Mac talk at the beginning. Andy cares for Steve's wife and daughter, so he does the sensible thing and pays for Steve's daughter's tuition for college since Steve wouldn't do it because he took his ex wife selling the house that he paid for as a personal insult to him to him from his daughter when in reality it was simply because she is having a tough time financially. He is angry at him for "acting like her father", but Andy responds "someone had to". It only hardens the blow that Andy confesses to never liking Steve right after, and though he says he is indifferent as to whether people hate him or not, he seems upset. He also starts thinking about his daughter, and imagining talking to her. He then is shown by Joanna that the Time magazine at the beginning was never meant to be about him. He realizes that he is not always the center of attention and not everyone is out to get him. Next he is with Sculley, and now he realizes that he is not an efficient computer, but an inefficient human and he has to embrace his humanistic side because that is what he is and there is no escaping it. He even used to go to his birth father's restaurant but would never admit to it simply because it was only one more thing to worry about, a distraction in his eyes. It is then when he tries to make up with his daughter, ending in her yelling at him and exposing that he is just as flawed as the rest of us. She storms to the roof, and Steve Jobs follows. Like she predicted in the NEXT conference, his "regretful" song has started playing. He tells her that LISA wasn't a coincidence, and is far more interested in her than the important conference. He is even willing to be late to it so he can hear one of her essays, and it is specifically emphasized earlier in the film that being late to these is something he would never do, not by a second. It is now, because of her and his concern for her, that he comes up with the idea for the iPod. Then he walks out onto the stage, with his daughter watching in the background, again something he wouldn't allow before, and without saying a word, both literally (camera wise) and figuratively puts her into focus and starts walking towards her with his back to his computer and his business.