Ashton Kutcher delivers a stellar performance as Steve Jobs. The actor was able to mimic the computer visionary’s speech patterns, flowing hand gestures, trademark smirk and loping, apelike gait. According to a recent interview, Kutcher even adopted Jobs’ eating patterns, ending up in a hospital after suffering the debilitating effects of the bizarre fruitarian diet.
The film takes us on a journey from Jobs’ college dropout days in 1971 to the iPod launch in 2001. With three decades to cover in 127 minutes, some of the scenes appear rushed and the eleven years between 1985 and 1996 are glossed over. In spite of these flaws, director Joshua Michael Stern still manages to create a powerful narrative about a man obsessed with revolutionary innovation.
Having read Walter Isaacson’s biography, I knew of Jobs’ selfishness, temper and impatience with anyone who failed to share his vision. In this film, we get glimpses of that hair-trigger temper when Jobs yells at his co-workers and later admits, “I just can’t work for other people.” More surprising and disappointing is his treatment of the men who worked alongside him in his father’s garage.
Jobs’ personal relationships are also fraught with tension. It is shocking to see his reaction to an unwanted pregnancy and Steve Woznick’s (Josh Gad) soul baring conversation. His feelings toward his daughter Lisa are never fully expressed, but he does appear to have a “normal” family life toward the end of the film.
As many of the reviews have shown, Jobs is definitely open to interpretation. And while not everyone will admire many of Steve Jobs’ personal and business decisions, I don’t think anyone can leave the theater without being inspired by this driven and charismatic leader.