North Texas Daily

The Dose: ‘Steve Jobs’ and Aaron Sorkin’s depiction of genius

The Dose: ‘Steve Jobs’ and Aaron Sorkin’s depiction of genius

The Dose: ‘Steve Jobs’ and Aaron Sorkin’s depiction of genius
October 22
12:34 2015

Nicholas Friedman | Editor-In-Chief


“It looks like Judy Jetson’s Easy Bake Oven!”

When 19-year-old Lisa Jobs-Brennen yells those words at her father on the roof of the Flint Center just five minutes before the unveiling of the blue iMac, the entire point of Steve Jobs comes into focus.

The man was flawed.

Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin crafted a stretched retelling of the life of a genius. Michael Fassbender stuns as Jobs, nailing everything from mannerisms to dress.

Stellar performances by Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley fill out a cast-packed runtime. Events are tweaked and arguments are amplified from reality, but the lives of those around Jobs are changed as the man falls into his work and ultimately finds success.

Steve Jobs is about interacting with a hard-shelled man. Once Sorkin combed the source material, author Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, he knew what kind of film he wanted to write.

“When I’m writing something, it’s all I can think about when I’m brushing my teeth or driving my car,” Sorkin said during a roundtable discussion Wednesday afternoon. “I didn’t just want to dramatize the biography.”

And he didn’t. Sorkin adapted the basis of Jobs’ biography, the life of a timeless intellectual slowly dying, and started digging.

Sorkin said he spoke with Sculley, former CEO of Apple, who hadn’t talked to Jobs since his departure from the company in 1993. He built his scenes based on what Sculley told Sorkin.

A similar angle was taken with Lisa, Jobs’ daughter, who refused to take part in Isaacson’s biography while her father was still alive. Sorkin said he and Lisa grew close and he learned a lot about the relationship she had with her father.

With Wozniak, Sorkin said he was able to find the anger and passion in a man who otherwise didn’t speak his mind.

“I took the facts from the book and combined them with my own subjective inference based on the time I spent with these people,” Sorkin said.

This helped to form three 40-minute segments throughout the film, leading up to the reveal of three products: the Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT Computer in 1998 and the iMac in 1998. These moments happen in real time for the audience.

The discussions are drawn out beautifully and show Sorkin in top form. There are witty remarks and a whole lot of yelling between Jobs and his high school sweetheart Chrisann Brennan, Sculley, Wozniak and developer Andy Hertzfeld.

The audience comes to know Jobs as an angry, self-absorbed man. Despite his shortcomings, he’s still worth the viewer’s empathy.

Sorkin said writing this character was similar to writing Mark Zuckerberg in 2010’s The Social Network.

“It’s very important you don’t judge them. You have to defend them,” he said. “I have to make the case as to why God should let them into heaven.”

One of the core concepts in Steve Jobs, the idea that design can be so much more than face value, is prominent throughout.

By the end of the film, Jobs is an antihero to the audience. He’s not the pearl genius who invented the iPhone, but an accepting father willing to appreciate what he’s created.

“This is a painting. It’s not a photograph,” he said.

Sure, Steve Jobs isn’t a verbatim depiction of the life Jobs lived, but it’s a damn good film that shows the flaws in a technological hero.

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he's had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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