No one should expect biographies of highly driven people to show them without flaws or moral compromises. "Jobs," however, fails abysmally at fundamental storytelling.
How did this man get the way he was? It's not here. There's only the outward behavior, which veers wildly between narcissism and schizophrenia.
Especially troubling is the sequence in which Jobs kicks live-in girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan (Ahna O'Reilly) out of his house simply because she's pregnant and he doesn't want to take any responsibility for the baby.
Some years later, we see the child in question, Lisa (Annika Bertea), sleeping on the couch at Jobs' palatial home. How did she get there? We're left to guess.
When not hectoring colleagues, like the strangely faithful Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad), or cheating his co-founders out of stock options as Apple is about to become a publicly traded corporation, Jobs speaks in aphorisms as inspirational music swells. "How does anybody know what they want if they've never even seen it?" he asks.
By the time he's introducing the iPod, his cult of personality is in full force, and he's emitting platitudes such as "When you can touch somebody's heart, that's limitless."
Rival corporations such as IBM and Microsoft appear only in discussions. At one point, Jobs calls up Bill Gates at Microsoft and curses him for allegedly stealing software ideas.
Whatever these two men's respective places in history may turn out to be, the stultifying "Jobs" sadly gives us no more insight into its chosen subject than it does into his unseen rival.
The film contains cohabitation, two scenes of drug use, a couple of instances of profanity and frequent crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.