There’s a first time for everything, and tonight was the first time I had trod the fabled red carpet – as we made our way into the Leicester Odeon for the Closing Gala of the BFI London Film Festival. The film that closed out the Festival: Steve Jobs. And this was a hat-trick for film-maker Danny Boyle, in that his earlier films Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours had closed in previous years.
The stars were out in force this evening, including film-maker Danny Boyle, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, and the big name actors like Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet. And it was wonderful to watch them – Kate Winslet in particular – engage their audiences from the red carpet.
Result? Red carpet or no, Steve Jobs made it into my Top 5 films, ever.
Full disclosure: the tickets came via our eldest daughter Gaia and her boss, Christian Colson. She has worked with Christian and Danny more or less since the outset of the Slumdog Millionaire project. So interest declared, but I wouldn’t have said the same about Slumdog or 127 Hours. Loved both of them, but for me Steve Jobs was a stand-out production.
I was amazed how many people, including some of the cast, said they hadn’t known much about Jobs. I have bought Apple computers since the first Macintosh, which was the second computer Gaia and her sister Hania owned, after an Amstrad. The difference between the two machines was beyond measure, something delightfully captured in an early sequence with Jobs’s daughter Lisa, who unwittingly uses the machine to begin the long, Himalayan climb into her father’s heart.
The relationship between Jobs and his muse Joanna (Kate Winslet) is tough, challenging, loving, magical. Sir Jony Ive may say he doesn’t recognise Michael Fassbender’s version of Jobs, but hey, this is like a painting – a metaphor Jobs himself was apparently inclined to use.
And as a painting it’s a work of art, a work of collective genius.
As it happens, the only time I came across Sir Jony was at a conference where he was being interviewed by Al Gore, an Apple Board member. I asked a question about Apple’s problems with Foxconn in China – and I can only describe his reply as tetchy.
On the other hand, I recall, many moons ago, being alongside Steve Wozniak (played in the film by Seth Rogen) as our bags came off a flight at Heathrow, and he radiated warmth. In fact, he reminded me of Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s, who I like and admire greatly.
I have no idea if the central collision between Jobs and Woz in this film was fiction or reality, but it rang true – and my sympathies were pretty much entirely with Woz.
But eggs and omelettes. Omelettes and chips. Jobs was a true, if flawed genius – in the film he admits that in certain respects he is “ill-made.” But that’s a key part of what makes him – and Danny Boyle’s film – so riveting. Red carpet or no, go.