Jobs Movie Reviews Range from Good to Passable to Poor
The word out of the Sundance Festival is that Ashton Kutcher as Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs has some good moments and obviously put himself into the role. However, the jOBS movie reviews to date reveal the difficulty facing the production from the start — casting, a deified subject and stratospheric expectations.
It is possible to find more jOBS movie reviews, but these seven really cover the range of reactions to this film:
• This isn’t going to be the canonical Steve Jobs biography movie. Honestly, Jobs was such a complex individual that I can’t see one ever being made. But, as an impressionist portrait of a specific period in his life, it’s successful. Don’t go into it looking for complete verisimilitude or whip-crack dialog and you should like it just fine — Matthew Panzarino, The Next Web.
• Others will write of the things jOBS omits, gets wrong or simply avoids. My primary disappointment was in how shallow the film felt, given the extensive historical record. In the early days Jobs’ co-workers had to wrestle with a man who smelled bad, who cried often, who yelled constantly, who missed deadlines, who overspent his budget by millions. He did it in service of products we love and use daily, and yet his obsessions took a toll on those around him. He also inspired others to do the best work of their lives, pushing themselves further than they ever imagined they could go. There is great drama to be found in all that, but it is not to be found in the saccharine jOBS — Casey Newton, News.com.
• jOBS is a point-A-to-point-B story about a uniquely innovative thinker and ruthless businessman — one that had a notable and meaningful impact on the world. It’s a good film, but it’s also very “safe” — a familiar story that doesn’t try for a bigger picture. It’s not destined to be the Great Jobs Biopic — and yes, there will be many in the years and decades to come — but it’s worth taking a chance on for Kutcher’s performance — Ross Miller, The Verge.
• “I knew I was throwing myself into a gauntlet of criticism,” Kutcher said at the premiere, “and this became the most terrifying thing I have done in my life.” His fears have been realized. The poverty of his skills as a serious actor is on full display. His diction is incoherent. He clumsily signposts every emotion he thinks his character should feel: smug smiles for triumph; exaggerated scowls for disgust; nail-biting for anxiety — Sebastion Daggert, Telegraph UK.
• As a whole, the movie inevitably suffers from comparison to The Social Network, another recent biopic about cutthroat tech innovators that’s superior in every way. The David Fincher-directed movie burrowed inside the essence of competitive young brilliance and triumphantly explored how inspired minds engage in endless competition. jOBS renders the same forces through the Apple founder’s ongoing persistence without a modicum of depth. “We gotta risk everything,” Jobs tells his team early on. The movie could have taken that advice; the problem with jOBS is that it plays too safe — Eric Kohn, IndieWire.
• The filmmakers do fall into the trap of overly sentimentalizing a widely beloved public figure who represents an enormous cultural significance. At the same time, however, they keep the movie frequently engaging, an indication of their studious dedication to the project about a man who arguably changed the habits and communication methods of the world’s population more than any other — Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter.
• Ultimately, jOBS is a prosaic but not unaffecting tribute to the virtues of defiance, nonconformity, artistry, beauty, craftsmanship, imagination and innovation, qualities it only intermittently reflects as a piece of filmmaking. Freddy Waff’s production design and Lisa Jensen-Nye’s costumes subtly capture the look of each decade; the soundtrack blares too insistently with some of Jobs’ favorite artists, including Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan — Justin Chang, Variety.
Yes, some reviewers hate Kutcher while others give him credit for nailing some of Jobs’ habits. But, in a nutshell? If you keep your expectations, and sense of history indignation, in check, leaving the theater entertained shouldn’t be a problem.
What’s your take?