Jobs follows the career of the title character from his work designing the world’s first Apple computer in a garage to his introduction of the ipod.
The movie took twenty minutes to find its true beginning. It stutter-steps around the portrayal of a college student who decides to drop out of school because he doesn’t know what he wants to be. He only knows he doesn’t want to continue learning what others tell him is important.
A barefoot Steve Jobs wanders around campus at Reed College and into conversations about self-discovery. This apparently manifests in a calligraphy class, a Zen class and a trip to India, all set to the backdrop of a scene that has the young Steve Jobs in a meadow with hands and eyes lifted to the sky, very Julie Andrews, but with an acid trip.
The story finally begins – and ends – with the relationship between Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak, known as “Woz.” Jobs’ friendship with Woz contrasted with his drivenness becomes the heart of the film. As the world shares Steve’s vision, his passion for technology crowds out his personal relationships; what might be a self-fulfilling prophecy for a man who had been abandoned by his biological parents.
Throughout the movie, Steve is constantly sacrificing his friendships at the altar of Apple. He even refuses to acknowledge the existence of his own daughter and depictions of homemade cards with crayon writings from a two-year old pleading to meet her daddy are enough to rend the heart of any warm-blooded person. As far as the Steve Jobs of the movie goes, no time is invested in a relationship that doesn’t further the cause.
It’s clear to see that Steve is devastated, broken by his own obsession, but, at least in the movie, his hope deferred is never resolved. The closest we come to a whole character is with his takeover of his estranged brainchild.
In one of many similar scenes, Steve sits at a board meeting which is really a coup to oust the latest C.E.O., something all too familiar for Jobs. He lost his own position in a similar way, and in lingering moments of awkward silence during which characters spend their time avoiding eye contact, it becomes evident the character arc ends here. A few minutes later the credits are rolling.
There are scenes depicting Steve Jobs in his element: as a leader and inspirational speaker, recruiting and mentoring young techs, and pushing the limits of the latest technological developments. These are precious few, and the heart of the film slowly fades into the background along with Woz.
In a 2005 graduation speech at Stanford, Steve Jobs said,”…death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. …And most important, have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Wise words for anyone thinking what can be done today could be put off for tomorrow, but it begs the question: where is your heart leading you? Author John Eldrege said that our culture today is obsessed with achievement and pointed out that many iconic figures suffered multiple divorces, neglected their children, etc. in their pursuit of the great.
The most important thing, as Jesus said, is to love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.
In an interview, actor Ashton Kutcher said he believes that Jobs felt loved if his products were loved. If that’s the case, the movie is certainly an accurate portrayal of the man.
Whether or not it’s factual, there’s nothing like the story of a wealthy and successful man’s utter emptiness to make us appreciate our loved ones.