Clearly, you’ve taken a completely different approach than writer Matt Whiteley did with the biopic Jobs in 2013. You didn’t for a second try to cram Steve Jobs’ entire life into a 122-page script. Rather you constructed your script as the most specific thesis paper imaginable. And though I longed for more flashbacks and chronological context (show –don’t tell, remember!), I have to commend you for succeeding admirably in your intention. Thank you for making an honest film about people, and not simply the glorification of one man.
Your script for Steve Jobs is distinguishably presented in three acts depicting the moments leading up to three separate product launches that define Jobs’ career –the 1984 launch of the Macintosh, the 88’ NeXT computers launch of the Black Cube, and finally the 98’ launch of the iMac (outlined narratively as failure, redemption, and victory). Like Walter Isaacson’s book, of the same name, and upon which the script is based, Steve Jobs is comprised almost entirely of dialogue. The most intimate conversations Jobs shares with those closest to him; his marketing exec. Joanna, his ex-girlfriend Chrisann, his daughter Lisa, the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, and of course, the only other CEO – John Sculley.
You had each of these characters confront Jobs with a concern or query during the opening launch. The topics of conversation persist throughout all three acts, cross-cutting between past and present and what could have been. It is through the persistence of these secondary characters, and their inability to be silenced that we as spectators come to learn about the other side of Steve Jobs. You subject the viewer to full disclosure – and apart from the occasional check in with Kate Winslet’s Joanna - we remain present in the room with Jobs.
You captured the culmination of the film in a moment of truth between Jobs and Wozniak, the final sequence that truly defines the film’s purpose – to acknowledge the Apple 2 team. A request that ‘Woz’ makes and Steve refuses. Thankfully, you didn’t. Your secondary characters are stand-ins for what the “Apple 2 team” represents – characters that shed some light on who Jobs really is, 40 minutes before he steps out on stage. You let us stand and bear witness to the truth, before ethics are engulfed by sleek design, net result and thunderous applause. You have designed the operating system of this film as an open system. We’re given a lot to process, but modifications are condoned. So again, thank you Aaron Sorkin, for finally playing the second version of the same song.