But if Stern lets Jobs off the hook, Kutcher doesn't. Occasionally, to suggest inner turmoil, he'll tremble and clench his fists — that's the hammy stuff. But mostly Kutcher only hints at what might be going on behind this confounding man's ever-shifting eyes. Kutcher finds compassion without going for anything so cheap as an explanation for Jobs' bad behavior; it's a wily, understated performance.

A scene from Jobs
A scene from Jobs

Details

Directed by Joshua Michael Stern. Written by Matt Whiteley. Starring Ashton Kutcher, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, James Woods, Abby Brammell, and Dermot Mulroney. Rated PG-13.

Jobs put a lot of himself into the products he developed. To love your MacBook, your iPod, your iPhone, is to love Steve Jobs the man just a little bit, from a convenient distance. Kutcher had it harder: He had to get right inside Jobs' head, and his performance suggests that it wasn't a fun place to be.

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