Skip to main content

Steve Jobs movie “deviates from reality everywhere” but “exposes deeper truths” – Andy Hertzfeld

Andy Hertzfeld (R) with the actor who plays him, Michael Stuhlbarg (L)

Andy Hertzfeld (R) with the actor who plays him, Michael Stuhlbarg (L)

Andy Hertzfeld, one of the key designers of the original Macintosh system software, has told Re/code that the Sorkins/Boyle movie Steve Jobs “deviates from reality everywhere” but “exposes deeper truths” about the man.

It deviates from reality everywhere — almost nothing in it is like it really happened — but ultimately that doesn’t matter that much. The purpose of the film is to entertain, inspire and move the audience, not to portray reality. It is cavalier about the facts but aspires to explore and expose the deeper truths behind Steve’s unusual personality and behavior, and it often but not always succeeds at that.

Hertzfeld said that Sorkin had convinced him that an impressionistic approach was valid … 

[Sorkin] asked me how Steve would react to a specific situation, involving the speech demo failing. I pointed out that it didn’t happen in reality, and we had a lengthy discussion about artistic license, about how okay it is to diverge from reality. Basically, he convinced me it was not a documentary, so veracity is secondary to artistic considerations, and “it’s a painting, not a photograph.

He said that while it was difficult for him to judge the movie as he was so close to it all, he described it as “brilliantly written and performed, and full of humor and feeling.”

Sorkin yesterday revealed that it had taken him two months to come up with the idea of the three act structure used in the movie, and he hadn’t expected the studio to approve it, but they actually took just minutes to do so.

Steve Wozniak has also said that while the details may not be accurate, he “felt like he was actually watching Steve Jobs.” Critics praised the moviewhich got its debut screening earlier this month. Steve Jobs goes on general release on October 9th – with a two-minute trailer whetting our appetite in the meantime.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. Stockholm Syndrome.

  2. patthecarnut - 7 years ago

    So what’s next, the one where Steve is a double agent and infiltrates the Cuban government to steal trade secrets for the upcoming FidelPhone in the works by rival company Fidelsoft? Artistic license? Phshh!

  3. Liam Deckham - 7 years ago

    I actually wanted to see this movie when I first heard about it, but it is now over hyped, so I could care less. Plus, with Aaron Sorkin running around telling everyone off with his typical arrogance is not inviting for the film. Whenever it comes out… Who cares…

    • vivid2 - 7 years ago

      How much less could you care, Liam? Seppos in particular *do* seem to get this concept backwards; why is this so? A redundant ellipsis for you— … ;o)

  4. BDKennedy (@BDKennedy) - 7 years ago

    Deviating from the facts is exactly what dilutes a persons character over time. It alters history.

  5. Jake Becker - 7 years ago

    So the film doesn’t truly know what it wants to be and doesn’t seem to accomplish much. A lot of us already knew that.

  6. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    The more I read about Sorkin, the less I want to see this movie. I’m sure he’s an intelligent person, but they way he created this movie… I can’t share his view on his method.

    He does make cool statements: “I am all for everyone having a voice, I just don’t think everyone has earned the microphone. And that’s what the Internet has done.”

    The other side of him is he’s (been?) a heavy cocaine addict.

    But whatever, not going to see this film.

  7. Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 7 years ago

    I wonder what Jobs’ wife and kids think of it. I wonder if they were happy with their portrayal in the movie and if they wanted themselves and Steve portrayed in such a way.

  8. Julian (@thejulianw) - 7 years ago

    Sorry but I watch a movie like this with the hope of getting a most accurate insight of how it really happened.
    It seems that this won’t be what I’ll get when I watch this.. which is unfortunate.

  9. modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

    Like father like son…what they’re not related? Lol – Wow this actor really looks like Herzfeld’s son! There’s that saying that there is someone on Earth that looks the same as you somewhere. I think Herzfeld has found his even if they are a generation apart.

  10. modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

    I was originally a bit meh about this latest Jobs movie. I said to myself that if it comes to my town I’ll go see it otherwise I won’t bother. But reading that Woz likes it and now Herzfeld. I really want to see it now.

  11. Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

    Sorkin has specifically said that this is a bio-pic… this means it is the movie equive of an autobiography book — its supposed to be portraying reality of who the person is or was… otherwise it just becomes a work of fiction based around a real person – thus NOT being a biopic

  12. drhalftone - 7 years ago

    I refuse to watch any Steve Jobs biopic that does not star Christian Bale.

  13. just1n12 - 7 years ago

    Comes out on the 23rd in the U.S and the 16th in Canada. The 9th is a limited release in the U.S only btw.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear