When I heard Hollywood was making another movie about Steve Jobs, the co-founder and two-time CEO of tech giant Apple, I was immediately skeptical. The adoration of Jobs to god-like status has already resulted in over 20 books and a dozen movies made about him – what would another accomplish? And how would Hollywood glamorize his life? When does it all become idolatry?
As it turns out, all my fears were for naught.
For this new “Steve Jobs,” featuring Michael Fassbender in the title role, is nothing short of a legitimate Oscar contender (or at least Fassbender is), a gripping and powerful film phenomenally written and well-made.
And even more surprising is the film’s worldview, which far from the Hollywood leftism I expected, depicts a morality tale of the destructive power of pride and the need to prioritize family over career, even when that career is making billions as one of the most innovative and powerful CEOs in history.
“What you make isn’t supposed to be the best part of you,” Jobs is told in the film. “What you are as a father is supposed to be the best part of you.”
And the whole film preaches that message.
The movie takes place on only three days of Jobs’ life – the launch days for the Macintosh, NeXT, and iMac computers, respectively – with a few flashbacks thrown in for backstory. Each day brings the same five people back into his life for a string of life-changing crises just before Jobs is supposed to go on stage to introduce his newest product.
The resulting tension and urgency keeps the intensity high and makes for a solidly entertaining film, even though the plot is little more than the development of Jobs’ character.
I’ll admit, I did struggle a bit through the first roughly half of the film, simply because I’m not an Apple fan, and I have no particular affinity for the real-life Jobs. Consequently, I didn’t really connect with the film’s protagonist, who seemed little more than a condescending jerk. But once Jobs experiences professional humiliation, followed by even more compelling personal humiliation, and then a series of confrontations that topple him from the pedestal he had placed himself upon, I was hooked. When the moment of his redemption came, I was ready to cheer that the jerk finally got it.
And what did he “get”?
Early in the film, it’s clear it’s not just Apple fans who worshiped Jobs as some sort of god, but Jobs himself.
When he makes a comment about God creating the world in a week, a coworker quips to Jobs, “Someday you’ll have to tell us how you did it.”
Jobs sees himself as infallible, a soaring eagle of a genius surrounded by turkeys.
But again, it’s the confrontations that really turn this movie. Jobs’ biggest crisis come as he realizes the truth of Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” even Steve Jobs.
I’ll say no more, to avoid spoilers, but I will say that outside of some foul language and some ugliness depicted in Jobs’ life, there’s a great deal to like and to recommend in this movie, even for Christians.
I’m still no particular fan of Steve Jobs as a person, but I’m now a big fan of “Steve Jobs” the movie.
- “Steve Jobs,” rated R, contains roughly 50 obscenities and profanities, many of which are strong.
- The film contains a few lines of crude discussion about sexuality but no overt sexuality, nudity or even romantic storylines.
- The only violence in the film is a brief clip of the cartoon “The Simpsons,” where one character hits another with a technical device.
- There are no occult references in the film, though the references to God and/or Christianity aren’t positive. In addition to the line about God creating the world mentioned above, Jobs makes a snide remark: “God sent his only son on a suicide mission, but we like him anyway because he made trees.”