Yet another film about the late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs premiered on October 9; the movie has been met with high praise from audiences but significant criticism from those who personally knew Jobs. The film, directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin, is based on the biography on Jobs written by Walter Isaacson and published in 2011. Isaacson was selected by Jobs to tell the story of his life and work.

 

Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of the late Apple co-founder, attempted to have the film shut down before it was released. In an email to the Wall Street Journal, Powell Jobs said she dislikes the book and “any movie based on the book could not possibly be accurate.”

 

Current Apple CEO Tim Cook made a statement:

“I thought the Isaacson book did him a tremendous disservice. It was just a rehash of a bunch of stuff that had already been written and focused on small parts of his personality.”

 

 

This is not the first time in which writer Aaron Sorkin has come under fire for embellishing the truth in his work. He wrote “The Social Network,” a biopic on Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. When asked for his thoughts on the movie at a Q&A session Zuckerberg said, “They went out their way to get some interesting details correct like the design of the office, but on the overarching plot… they just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful.”

 

Sorkin has defended his most recent work saying, “This was clearly an impressionistic thing. I hope the movie early on announces itself as being a painting instead of a photograph.”

 

There will always be conflict when real life events are brought to the silver screen. The creators of the film must balance staying true to the characters and events while also creating an entertaining and commercially viable product. They must create a scenario in which the audience can understand deep and complex relationships and events within the finite time constraints of the film. In many cases, artistic liberties need to be taken, and walking the line between fact and fiction can be difficult.

 

Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Jobs and had known him since high school, was very impressed by the film. He admitted that some of the scenes in the film did not happen in real life, but the essence of Jobs was captured. In an interview with BBC, Wozniak said, “It’s believable that this is how things would have happened and went down, and I felt I was seeing the real Steve Jobs in there.”

 

Should filmmakers stick strictly to the facts when making movies about real people and events? Have Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle done a disservice to those who knew Steve Jobs and to the company he built by creating a version of him in their own image? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4