Michael Fassbender received his 2nd Oscar nod for playing Steve Jobs in Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs is a very good movie that I was initially very enthusiastic about, but that kinda died down a little. I actually liked that the movie tells his story through 3 different product launches – it flowed very well for me, and personally, I would not have liked an overly-detailed story of the man’s life either. The main issue I had was with the script, which was a bit hit or miss for me. Some parts were brilliantly written, while some parts came across as a bit forced, especially all the conversations about his adoption and his relationship with his daughter. It just felt a little bit self-indulgent at times, as if Aaron Sorkin was trying to tell us what a brilliant writer he is.
Michael Fassbender is such an unlikely choice to play Steve Jobs – not that I am complaining, I always thought of him as one of the most talented actors working today, but you know, I’m still very curious. Say what you want about Ashton Kutcher’s performance, but he definitely had a stronger resemblance than Fassbender. Nonetheless, it is the characterization and layers of this performance that really impressed me.
Right from the start, you know that Jobs is quite the d-bag to say the least, and what I really loved was how Fassbender makes him so charismatic and compelling, even when he is insulting and humiliating his team members. I mean, the scene where he threatened to publicly humiliate Andy was so good that I got the chills – I could feel how intimidated Andy was myself. I think what worked so well was that he managed to justify Jobs unpleasant personality, and this allowed us to fully understand where he was coming from. Fassbender brilliantly brought out the man’s “different” way of seeing things, and how this alienated him from people because of his approaches that only he himself understands.
The script kinda throws in many different facets of Steve Jobs into the mix, but Fassbender managed to gel them together perfectly. I loved how he handled his difficult relationship with his daughter and her mother – he cares for them and yet you can sense that he really dislikes them at times too. Despite the slightly abrupt way of handling the change between his relationship with his daughter, I think Fassbender brought out an underlying tenderness beneath Jobs’ unlikable facade.
Overall, I was really impressed with Fassbender’s performance but at the same time there was somethingh holding me back in loving it entirely. I think it mainly comes from the awkwardness of the script at times, but Fassbender gave a complex and fascinating performance nonetheless. 4.5/5.
Kate Winslet received her 7th Oscar nod for playing Joanna Hoffman – given that Winslet won the Bafta and Golden Globe, there is no question that she was the runner-up for the win.
Unlike Vikander, Kate Winslet’s role here is a true supporting one. Pretty much like Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game, the role isn’t complex or deep – she’s really here to support Fassbender’s performance and then tell him off severely at the end.
I am no expert in this, but her accent did come across as a bit wonky and fake at times. Like I could hear that she was “putting on an accent” in some parts, but this wasn’t a huge issue anyway. I think Winslet does a very good job in being the mediator of all of Jobs’ conflicts. She has this air of professionalism and calmness that I really liked, as if handling Jobs was nothing more than pacifying a super annoying big baby to her. Of course, she has brilliant chemistry with Fassbender – you can tell they enjoy working together and that was instrumental in making this performance work. I even liked how she tried to subtly hint at her inner conflict on whether she should interfere with Jobs’personal life.
Her big Oscar scene was my main problem. Even though she has already hinted at her character’s inner conflict from the beginning, it still came off as way too abrupt, though to her credit, she pulled it off.
Overall, I think this is a solid supporting turn by a great actress – nothing amazing, but still very good. A high 3.5 to low 4 is fitting, I think.