Australian Council on Children and the Media

Steve Jobs

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Not recommended under 15 due to themes, emotionally intense scenes and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Steve Jobs
  • a review of Steve Jobs completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 February 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to themes, emotionally intense scenes and coarse language
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Steve Jobs
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Coarse language and mature themes
Length 122 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film Steve Jobs (2015) is a biopic about the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple computers.

The film opens with the 1984 launch of the Macintosh computer where we find Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender), Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) head of marketing and co-Macintosh inventor Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) gathered around a giant projector screen arguing about why the demonstration compute won’t say “hello” when turned on. The heated argument that follows gives an insight into the character of Steve Jobs.  He is a somewhat scary dictator, who won’t take “no”, or “it can’t be done” for an answer, who will not be late for any reason, and who refuses to acknowledge the existence his own daughter.

The film that follows gives a backstage focus on Steve Jobs as he presents the launch of three of Apples iconic products over a fifteen year period, including the Apple Macintosh, the NeXT cube and the iMac. Through an exposé of his life we learn that Jobs while a genius and visionary was also a very complicated man who found it challenging to work with others and was emotionally damaged as a result of being abandoned as a child. The film follows Steve turbulent relationships with his daughter Lisa Brennan as she grows up, and Lisa’s mother Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterson).

 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Computers and technological development; relationships; paternity and child maintenance

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The violence in this movie is mainly verbal, most of it in the form of intense arguments including:

  • One scene depicts a man verbally threatening to publically humiliate a second man if he does not 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 pair arguing about money, court rulings and paternity tests. 
  • A man argues with a 9 year old girl telling her that she is breaking the law by not going to school.
  • One scene depicts a heated argument between man and woman, the man accusing the woman of throwing a kitchen bowl at her daughter’s head. He infers that he will pay to have her killed - telling her that he will get a call one day and hear that she is dead. 
  • A man talks about getting hate-mail and death threats in the middle of the night and his children being harassed at school.  

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

The intense arguments are likely to scare children in this age group

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

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

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and themes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes and themes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple computers
  • Pepsi
  • Time Magazine

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Steve Jobs refuses to believe that a young girl is his daughter. The child’s mother makes reference to a magazine article in which he said that 28% of the male population could be the young girl’s father inferring that the woman had slept with 28% of the country’s population. The woman says the man has painted her as a slut and whore.  
  • A woman says to a man (in a sarcastic tone) “Why have we never slept together?”
  • A man makes a sarcastic comment about being sodomized, making a sexual gesture by thrusting his hips. 

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Social drinking of alcohol
  • Joking reference to having to “drop acid”

Coarse language

The film contains some strong language throughout and infrequent name calling. Examples include:

  • The word “fuck” is used in a variety of ways (fuck, fucking, fuck off) throughout the film.
  • Other coarse language includes  Jesus Christ (used more than once) ; god damn ; shit pissed off
  • Insane, stupid, idiot, slut, whore

In a nutshell

Steve Jobs is a dramatic biopic following a turbulent high-powered career which is aimed at adult viewers. The film is fast paced, entertaining and at times emotionally intense (particularly when the film paints an unflattering image of Jobs as a father). The themes, coarse language and intense verbal arguments make the film unsuitable for children under 15 but the subject matter raises interesting issues for discussion with older teens who are likely to be interested in the career of a high-profile computer genius and the man behind the public image.

The main messages from this movie are:

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

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