The Steve Jobs Movie

02 Jun 2012

Farhad Manjoo:

Here’s a prediction: Aaron Sorkin’s film adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography is going to be a disaster. … When it opens at a theater near you in a few years’ time, the film will become the toast of Hollywood and an instant blockbuster, and not long after it will attain the status of documentary truth: Sorkin’s film will become the definitive account of Jobs’ life, the thing we’ll all think about when we try to remember Steve Jobs.

It seems that we need to have a conversation about truth, art, and the space between the two. Just because it happened doesn’t mean it is worth telling. Just because it happened doesn’t mean that it will sell. Just because it happened doesn’t mean that it is art.

Benjamin Franklin probably didn’t do anything with a key and a kite and a thunderstorm. Did you know? Do you care? It makes a good story so we tell it. We build the mythology of our heroes (and villains) through the best narratives that we can construct, not necessarily the most true. Aaron Sorkin is not a truth-teller; he is a storyteller. His entire purpose is to entertain and he has a knack for doing just that.[^1] Hopefully he manages to do so with this film, because there are parts of Steve Jobs’ life[^2] that would do incredibly well with the Sorkin treatment. Personally, I can’t wait. The author of this piece is not so excited. I have some advice for him: do not watch it, particularly since you do not seem to know the difference between biography and story.

(Via Hacker News)