High praise for Steve Jobs biopic

Michael Fassbender could be an Oscar contender for his portrayal of Steve Jobs.
Michael Fassbender could be an Oscar contender for his portrayal of Steve Jobs. PHOTO: YOUTUBE

NEW YORK • A weekend screening of Steve Jobs, a biopic of the Apple co-founder, drew high praise from some reviewers and suggestions that actor Michael Fassbender could be an Oscar contender for his portrayal of Jobs.

While the positive reviews were not unanimous, Variety was impressed. The website said Fassbender, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin gave Jobs "the brilliant, maddening, ingeniously designed and monstrously self-aggrandising movie he deserves".

It described the movie as a "terrific actors' showcase and an incorrigibly entertaining ride that looks set to be one of the fall's early must-see attractions". It also listed Fassbender as a "no-brainer Best Actor Oscar contender".

The Hollywood Reporter said the movie is "clearly positioned as one of the prestige titles of the fall season and will be high priority viewing for discerning audiences around the world".

A New York Times blog said the audience "responded warmly" to the world premiere of the movie at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado last Saturday.

Many Oscar hopefuls have been introduced to North America with a two-stop manoeuvre. First they play at Telluride, a small gathering of industry elite, critics and fans, and then immediately go to the Toronto International Film Festival. The idea is to hatch before the tastemakers of Telluride and then use the spotlight of Toronto to take wing.

Boyle's little-known drama, Slumdog Millionaire, premiered at Telluride in 2008 before going on to win awards at Toronto and on Oscar night.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he was impressed with Steve Jobs the movie, according to Deadline Hollywood. The site quoted him as saying that he felt he was "actually watching Steve Jobs and the others" rather than actors and that he gave "full credit to Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin for getting it so right".

Indiewire said the movie would "factor in the Oscar race" and that Fassbender and Kate Winslet, who plays Macintosh marketing chief Joanna Hoffman, "dazzle with their fleet-tongued performances, unlike anything they have done before". Seth Rogen plays Wozniak.

The Guardian, however, gave a more mixed review, suggesting the movie would mostly appeal to "the Apple geek". It said Jobs was "Boyle's best film in years" and that "Fassbender excels". But while the movie "appears to be admirably unsentimental in its portrayal of Jobs, by the end, we're getting close to Apple-sponsored hero iWorship", it said.

The Chicago Tribune, also not totally won over, said the movie was "never less than entertaining visually, but a little toothless dramatically".

An e-mail crossfire between former Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin over the biopic was revealed from a hacking attack on the studio last year.

The movie finally moved to Universal. It is expected to be shown at the New York Film Festival before it is released in the United States on Oct 9.

Indiewire said Boyle would return to the editing room to put the finishing touches on the movie before the New York screening.

The Telluride screening occurred a day after the opening of Steve Jobs: The Man In The Machine, a widely reviewed documentary directed by Alex Gibney.


•Steve Jobs is scheduled to open in Singapore on Jan 21 next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline 'High praise for Steve Jobs biopic'. Print Edition | Subscribe