How did Apple founder Steve Jobs come to be one of the most revered entrepreneurs of our time? That’s the question director Joshua Michael Stern aims to answer in “Jobs,” out now.
The film, which stars Ashton Kutcher as the title character, follows Jobs’ trajectory from college drop-out to millionaire mastermind. But do critics think the biopic gets the job done? Here’s what they had to say.
“Selecting a biography’s starting point is always a critical decision for both content and pacing, and debuting screenwriter Matt Whiteley identifies Jobs’ (Ashton Kutcher) early-’70s Reed College education — cut short when he drops out shortly after enrolling — as the first critical juncture in his later career. Art classes, meditation, LSD trips and travel to India all contribute to Jobs’ brief higher-education experience, leading to a job with pioneering video game manufacturer Atari in Silicon Valley. — Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter
Ashton Kutcher As Jobs
“Though Kutcher does throw himself into the role with all he’s got, trying to capture Jobs’ distinctive walk and mercurial temperament, his performance comes off as an assemblage of mannerisms with no deeper feeling or understanding.” — Mark Olsen, L.A. Times
Josh Gad As Steve Wozniak
“As Apple’s sweetly geeky co-founder, Gad is a real pleasure, and his scenes with Kutcher help us understand Jobs, even when — maybe especially when — the two are awkwardly parting ways, late in the film. If the movie has a point, it’s that Jobs may have been a genius but that he was no saint. When he’s firing a low-level Apple staffer because the employee doesn’t care enough about computer type fonts, it’s both funny and painful (and, yes, a bit gratifying).” — Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post
The Time Jump
“The decade the film skips — when an ousted Jobs created his software company NeXT, which he eventually sold to Apple — seems like a lost chapter that could have illuminated it subject. How does such a driven man survive after being driven out? Instead, the film picks up in 1996, when Jobs inexplicably has a new wife and young son; his now college-age daughter snoozing on the living-room couch. He’s lured back to Apple and transforms it into the most profitable company in the world. (That’s not a spoiler, it’s history — you can check it on your iPhone.)” — Sandy Cohen, Associated Press
The Final Word
“The movie’s fall-and-redemption narrative is generic, abstract. And maybe that’s because the reason that this movie even exists — the notion that Steve Jobs is The One Who Changed Our Lives — has been, to put it mildly, a little overhyped. He didn’t invent the personal computer, although he did refine it into something more seductively handy and even beautiful. Personally, I’m a devotee of Steve Jobs’ products, but even as Jobs sticks to the facts of Jobs’ life (and what a difficult person he could be), the movie gets a little too caught up in his legend.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly