The legacy of Steve Jobs is hard to calculate, given all he accomplished and his very human flaws.  Movies have taken a second stab at with Steve Jobs.  Unlike Jobs, however, this recent take on the man's life focuses on him, and the people around him, before three of his biggest presentations.

First, it's 1984 and Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is about to unveil the Macintosh to the public.  His two biggest concerns are starting on time, and that the Macintosh's voice interface won't say "hello."  Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen, doing very well in non-comic role) wants Steve to thank the people behind the Apple 2, which Steve doesn't want to do because he wants to focus on the future, not the past.  Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) is the tech Steve threatens to fix the voice issue in time for the presentation.  Christine Brennan (Katherine Waterson) wants more money for her and her child Lisa, while Steve insists he's not her father.  John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), the CEO of Apple, is there to give Steve support.  And Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) is Steve's employee and friend who's trying to give him good publicity while figuring out what he's doing.
Next we jump ahead to 1988.  Steve has been forced out of Apple by John Scully, and Steve is about to launch his new computer, the NeXT Box.   Steve and Steve Wozniak fight about comments the latter made in the press, and Steve continues to fight with Christina about money and Lisa.  And while there are concerns about whether the NeXT Box will even work or sell, Steve seems most concerned with making sure its box is a near-perfect cube.
Finally we jump to 1994, when Steve is back at Apple and about to unveil the iMac.  Joanna is still struggling to help and understand Steve.  Wozniak, Hertzfeld, and Scully all show up.  And Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine) is a now a teenager having a big fight with her father.

Steve Jobs could easily be a play, divided into three acts.  What distinguishes this movie from the previous one is the writing by Aaron Sorkin.  The dialogue flies by quickly and furiously, bouncing from business to personal with lightning speed.  Michael Fassbender is excellent in the title role (even if they don't make him to look like Steve Jobs until the final third of the movie), showing his genius, volatile nature, and indifference to some things and anger at others.  The movie shows how he grows from stage to stage of his life -- and, sometimes worse, how he stays the same.  The supporting cast is also excellent, though it's up to Fassbender to finally carry the movie.

Steve Jobs isn't a standard biopic, but it's an entertaining and engrossing trip through some of the biggest parts of one of the twentieth century's most important people.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

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