By some strange coincidence the film about the life of Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher aired on tv yesterday, the same night as I had written my review about his book. It can be seen as nothing else than the world conspiring to make me write about the film as well – so here goes.
This was the first time I saw it, and had no idea what to expect. Or let me rephrase that – having read the book I had a pretty good understanding as to what COULD be in the movie but no idea as to what they had chosen to focus on or frame it as.
First of let me start by praising the caster/producer that chose Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs – it is striking how much he looks like the real deal! Furthermore Ashton Kutcher does quite a decent job portraying him. The way he walked with forward lean almost stumbling each step to keep up with his center of gravity while his limbs hang loosely from his slender body. The way he wore his feelings outside the body on most matters while totally denying the existence of other feelings in some cases. He really hit bullseye on those.
What I lacked having read the book was an even more detailed look at the person Steve Jobs himself. While they didn’t exactly try to portray him as being a super nice guy, they somehow in my opinion did not spend enough time on how impossible and evil he could be for his surroundings. There are some outburst at people he works with, cold feelings towards friends and lovers, even his daughter – but even with this included I somehow thinks he is portrayed as being to nice or framed as a person you should end up having sympathy towards.
The narrative of the story they portray, focussing on Apple can of course go a long way towards portraying him as a character you should feel sympathy for. The whole thing about him being forced out of the company he eventually started is by no means pretty or deserving for anyone. But if I had only seen the movie I would probably only feel sorry for Steve Jobs whereas having read the book I feel sorry for what happened with him being pushed out of Apple computers, but I still do not feel sympathy for him because he was to much of a jerk towards his surroundings – and that cannot be excused.
It is like hearing a story about a boy who is kept out of a game of basketball in the schoolyard, who you would feel sorry for and sympathy towards. But how would that change if you knew that he had again and again kept others out of basketball games in the past, ridiculing everybody’s abilities and clothes – then your sympathy towards the boy would probably change. That’s my issue with this movie – it frames him as only unsympathetic enough that you still end up feeling sorry for him in the end.
But with that in mind I still think it is a decent movie and by no means bad. It does have some inspiring and motivating parts in it, but overall it focusses more on rise – fall – re-rise, than the entrepreneurial spirit which could have made for an inspiring watch. The girl I watched it with liked it very much and felt more informed about his life and Apple when finished. So while I have no idea whether the movie has been a hit or not, it does a decent job at entertaining and informing.