Story

Steve Jobs is a biopic about the co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Apple computers.

The movie opens with the 1984 launch of the Macintosh computer. Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender), head of marketing Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), and Macintosh co-inventor Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) are gathered around a giant projector screen arguing about why the demonstration computer won’t say ‘Hello’ when turned on. The heated argument that follows gives an insight into Steve Jobs’s character. He’s a rather scary dictator, who won’t take ‘no’ or ‘It can’t be done’ for an answer, who won’t be late for any reason, and who refuses to acknowledge the existence of his own daughter.

The rest of the movie focuses on Steve Jobs as he presents the launch of three of Apple’s iconic products over a 15-year period, including the Apple Macintosh, the NeXT cube and the iMac. The movie presents Jobs as a genius and a visionary, but also shows that he was a very complicated man who found it challenging to work with others. He was emotionally damaged because of being abandoned as a child. He has turbulent relationships with his daughter Lisa Brennan as she grows up, and Lisa’s mother Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterson).

Themes

Computers and technological development; relationships; paternity and child maintenance

Violence

The violence in Steve Jobs is mainly verbal, mostly in the form of intense arguments. For example:

  • A man verbally threatens to publicly humiliate a second man if he doesn’t fix a computer malfunction. The first man likens the second man’s situation to that of playing Russian roulette.
  • A man and woman have a heated, emotionally intense argument about the man being a young girl’s father. The man and woman argue about money, court rulings and paternity tests.
  • A man argues with a nine-year-old girl, telling her that she’s breaking the law by not going to school. 
  • A man and woman have a heated argument. The man accuses the woman of throwing a kitchen bowl at her daughter’s head. He implies that he’ll pay to have the woman killed, telling her that he’ll get a call one day and hear that she’s dead.
  • A man talks about getting hate mail and death threats in the middle of the night and his children being harassed at school.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
The intense arguments in Steve Jobs are likely to scare children in this age group.

From 5-8
In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in Steve Jobs that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • In a couple of emotionally intense scenes Steve Jobs despairs about being adopted as a child and then rejected by the adopting couple. This made him feel rejected.
  • Steve Jobs’ initial refusal to accept that Lisa is his daughter and his relationship with her and her mother as she grows up might confuse and disturb children in this age group.
     

From 8-13
Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and themes.

Over 13
Younger viewers in this age group might also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and themes.

Sexual references

Steve Jobs has some sexual references. For example:

  • Steve Jobs refuses to believe that a young girl is his daughter. The child’s mother talks about a magazine article in which Jobs said that 28% of the male population could be the young girl’s father, implying that the woman had had sex with 28% of the country’s population. The woman says the man has represented her inappropriately.
  • A woman says to a man in a sarcastic way, ‘Why have we never slept together?’
  • A man makes a sarcastic comment about being sodomized, making a sexual gesture by thrusting his hips.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Steve Jobs shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Characters drink alcohol socially.
  • There are jokes about ‘dropping acid’.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Steve Jobs: Apple computers, Pepsi and Time magazine.

Coarse language

Steve Jobs has some strong language throughout and infrequent name-calling.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Steve Jobs is a dramatic biopic that follows a turbulent and high-powered career.

The movie is aimed at adult viewers. It’s fast paced, entertaining and sometimes emotionally intense, particularly when it paints an unflattering image of Jobs as a father. The themes, coarse language and intense verbal arguments make the movie unsuitable for children under 15 years. But the subject matter does raise interesting issues for discussion with older teenagers, who are likely to be interested in the career of a high-profile computer genius and the man behind the public image.

These are the main messages from Steve Jobs

  • In big business profit is all that matters, and profit comes before friendship or loyalty.
  • Consumers can be manipulated by clever marketing.