Steve Jobs (2015)

  • Time: 122 min
  • Genre: Biography | Drama
  • Director: Danny Boyle
  • Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels


His passion and ingenuity have been the driving force behind the digital age. However his drive to revolutionize technology was sacrificial. Ultimately it affected his family life and possibly his health. In this revealing film we explore the trials and triumphs of a modern day genius, the late CEO of Apple inc. Steven Paul Jobs.


  • A biopic on the beloved Steve Jobs is hitting theaters… wait, you are saying you already have seen the Steve Jobs biopic? Are you sure we are talking about the film entitled Steve Jobs and not Jobs? Because if you are talking about the latter then please sit down and read this review because I am about tell you about a biopic that does the creator of Apple the justice he deserves.

    Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicenter.

    The best thing that came out of Jobs is that the actors looked spot on for their roles and that the film was a great biopic for Apple. Yeah, Jobs was more of a biopic for Apple then for Steve Jobs. I learned more about Steve Jobs leaving the theater after watching the film than from the actual film itself. Steve Jobs however, does exactly what a biopic should accomplish, shed light on an individual. There are multiple people to praise for Steve Jobs and to start, I have mention Aaron Sorkin’s screenwriting, Danny Boyle’s direction, the ensemble acting led by Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet.

    Sorkin divided Steve Jobs into three thirty-minute parts: the drama that happens thirty-minutes prior to a presentation of a new product. Keep in mind, all three parts are unfolded in real time. Not only do the three acts show different products, Mac, NeXT’s black cube computer and the iMac G3, but they were also filmed differently. The first act was shot in 16mm, the second in 35 mm and the third in HD. How can you not be impressed yet? Is Steve Jobs behind this because this was by far a genius idea. He most likely wasn’t but that doesn’t mean he won’t take credit for it if he was still alive.

    So you might be wondering how could three acts that last thirty minutes reveal who Steve Jobs was as a person. Pretend the film is an onion and with each new act you peel a new layer off. With each new layer we learn about Jobs’ contradictions, demons and primal wounds and just like an onion, we hold back our feelings as we peel off layers. No, we do not learn much about Steve Jobs and his accomplishments as we did in Jobs but we learn so much more about Steve Jobs as an individual and his psyche and to be honest, that is exactly what I wanted. I could pick up any book and find out what Steve Jobs’ accomplishments are but sources are limited when it comes to learning about what was happening within Jobs’ head throughout all of this.

    As Steve Jobs, Michael Fassbender is a huge upgrade from Ashton Kutcher despite not looking the role at all. One tends to hate awards-bait films and Steve Jobs is one of those films. But when those awards-bait films does an amazing and indeed deserves to be nominated then that hate turns into praise. Michael Fassbender, I am praising you for every lead actor nomination that is out there! Fassbender is at the top of his game and Sorkin’s script only heightens Fassbender’s performance. Fassbender’s depicts a man with relentless focus, drive and care for anyone who isn’t him or his technological babies but yet to show us all of Jobs’ wounds that are buried so deep within.

    Fassbender does not do it along as he has an amazing cast to bounce off of. Literally, every scene is some kind of standoff between Steve Jobs and an aggravated colleague or family member. The list comes down to Seth Rogen’s Steve Woz, Michael Stuhlbarg’s Andy Hertzfeld, Katherine Waterston’s Chrisann, Jeff Daniels’ John Sculley and the many actresses that played his daughter, Lisa, throughout her life. These standoffs all happen within three acts, imagine if the film explored more of Jobs’ life. Each actor brings it all to the table and helps Fassbender flourish as the lead actor. Is Steve Jobs once again just synthesizing an orchestra of great actors to come out on top? Haha, it might seem like it again.

    Steve Jobs came up with an algorithm that suggest 28% of American men could be the real father for his daughter Lisa and I could come up with an algorithm that over 90% of movie watchers will prefer Steve Jobs over Jobs.

  • (Rating: ☆☆☆☆ out of 4)

    This film is highly recommended.

    In brief: A great innovative film about a great innovator.

    GRADE: A-

    It is the words that speak louder than the actions in Danny Boyle’s beautifully made film, Steve Jobs. The set-up of this character study avoids the biographical clichés that befall many in this genre. The art of the conversation and the poetic phrasing of the words created in Aaron Sorkin’s perceptive script delineate each character brilliantly and directly defines their relationships. The movie succeeds in large part to the fine direction and a literate screenplay that elevates the film to an higher level of excellence that is rarely equaled in today’s cinema.

    Steve Jobs is divided into three very distinct chapters in Job’s life and it is staged like a three act play: the introduction of MacIntosh personal computer (1984), the selling of his NeXT computer (1988), and the launch of the infamous IMac, his redemption project (1998). The film is a tad too theatrical in its presentation, although the director tries to camouflage this limited format with stylish imagery and archival footage that act as exposition between chapters.

    Meant to resemble Citizen Kane in its concept: the story of one man’s success and its corrupting influence of power and greed, the film is a worthy imitation. Where that film took the story of William Randolph Hearse and created a fictional character and plot that was thinly disguised from the real life counterpart, with names changed to protect the filmmaker, Orson Welles from a libel suit. Steve Jobs, the movie, welcomes the analogy and doesn’t care to hide any pretense of this modern day successful corporate CEO’s life.

    Based of Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography, the film vividly depicts Jobs as a smart but unpleasant human being, willing to hurt anyone who attempts to connect to him emotionally. This includes his estranged daughter, Lisa. Again, it is Sorkin’s dueling dialog that is razor sharp and fast as usual which impresses, as does the superior ensemble of actors involved.

    Seth Rogen plays Steve Wozniak, a former friend and colleague who supported Job’s many innovative ideas and wasn’t afraid to say no to the man, A terrific Kate Winslet is Apple’s head of marketing and Job’s loyal Girl Friday. Katherine Waterston plays Chrisann Brennan, his ex-girlfriend and mother to his illegitimate daughter whom Jobs refused to acknowledge for most of her life, It is this fractured relationship that becomes the crux of the film and a sage method to inject some humanism into this cold remote loner. Jeff Daniels is John Sculley, the father figure that Jobs admired most of his life and Michael Stuhlbarg subtly impersonates Andy Hertzfeld, his technical assistant whom he repeatedly mistreats. All are superb.

    Boyle’s only misstep, and it is a major one, is his decision not to use any prosthetics and hair or make-up design to try to emulate Job’s physical features. Michael Fassbender doesn’t look anything like the man (until the film’s final section), which I found to be a overt weakness in the role of a real iconic personality. (Life can be unfair, but not that unfair. Jobs may have been a gifted genius, but he never had this actor’s handsomeness too!) The lack of physical attributes interferes with a strong central performance and kept me at a slight distance from the character. The transformation seemed incomplete, although Fassbender has enough charisma and gravitas to make us believe in the ruthless character he is portraying, just not in Steve Jobs, the actual man.

    The actor shows Job’s abusive and competitive nature full throttle as he subjects his co-workers and family to his self indulgent whims and petty rages. Job’s drive for fame and his lust for perfectionism in an imperfect world show this unhappy man front and center, as written. But Mr. Fassbender effectively delivers the many complex speeches with great passion and aplomb. (Ashton Kutcher, who played Jobs in an earlier film, actually looks more like the title character than this actor, but it is Fassbender’s interpretation of the role that essentially captures the inner flaws of a man unable to feel any real emotion.) It is a fearless performance.

    Steve Jobs takes this arrogant control freak and savvy businessman and creates an in-depth character study that becomes riveting drama in the expert hands of its talented filmmakers. This is one of the year’s best films and its eloquent screenplay is perfection. Do not miss this film. It’s that good!

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  • If not for Danny Boyle’s grainy, pronounced direction, the routine for Steve Jobs (my latest review) would grow rather tiresome. For the most part, this is a real ball breaker of a movie, a character study that aches and moans. Every scene is a frigid confrontation, every dramatis personae is a painstaking resolve, and every bit of dialogue written by Aaron Sorkin, strands of hurried validity (remember the jibber jabber in 2010’s The Social Network?).

    Anyway, if you decide to take in a viewing of “Jobs”, you’ll be doing what other patrons (and actual extras for the film) will be doing, looking from the outside in. This closed-off production masked as cinematic agoraphobia, has performances in it that I would categorized as master class. You don’t see the wheels turning in any trouper’s head. Heck, you don’t see anyone really acting at all (this is a compliment).

    Now Steve Jobs the movie is about the non-fictional Steve Jobs, an American businessman and co-founder of Apple Inc. He died before he reached the age of 60, fathering a daughter he claimed wasn’t his, creating a computer that could talk, and achieving a net worth of millions upon millions of dollars. The vehicle doesn’t delve into his later years when his health declined (due to pancreatic cancer). And it doesn’t give us a highlight reel into him inventing the iPod, iPhone, or iTunes. No this is a two hour running time of Steve’s life, spliced into three days within three different years (early 80’s launch of the Apple Macintosh, 1988’s launch of NeXT Computer, and 1998’s premier of the iMac).

    In terms of casting, Michael Fassbender shines in the lead role, Kate Winslet is almost unrecognizable playing Steve’s marketing director, Seth Rogen comes into his own as Steve’s rival/erstwhile collaborator, and Jeff Daniels adds on to his dramatic chops (just like in The Martian) channeling Apple Inc.’s former CEO (John Sculley). In the realm of structure, there are some swift flashbacks towards the end (Jobs and his daughter revisit their lost moments), some longer flashbacks sprinkled throughout (everything happening before 1984), a complex screenplay that sort of recycles itself, and sequences where actors talk as if it’s merely for sport. My favorite line is when Jobs quips, “musicians play their instruments, I play the orchestra”. Slammer!

    In retrospect, this is Boyle’s twelfth flick to date. It pays homage to Arthur C. Clarke, gives a good-natured ribbing to Mr. Bill Gates, and has an unconcerned sense of time and place. In my opinion, it was probably released too early this year (October 9th to be exact). Here’s hoping the Academy voters don’t ignore “Jobs”, actor Michael Fassbender, and actress Kate Winslet come January (their work deserves surefire award nominations). Bottom line: Steve Jobs is lean, mean Oscar bait yet it doesn’t promote it, it earns it. Dialogue-driven, frustrating, exhausting, and psychologically formidable, you can already put it on my list of 2015’s best films. Rating: 3 and a half stars.

    Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars

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  • “I’m poorly made,” Steve Jobs confesses. Not so this biopic, which stands as a supreme achievement that finds director Danny Boyle beautifully marrying his visual flourish to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s verbal razzle dazzle, and a troupe of actors all at the top of their game.

    Based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling 2011 biography, the film is structured in three acts, with each act covering the run-up to a product launch in relative real time. Each act or movement features the same set of recurring characters and motifs – one can see the notes, specific chords that would run through a symphony, and how these notes are re-arranged to convey the growth or dissolution of the relationships between Jobs and several of the key people in his personal and professional lives. Sorkin’s design is deliberately visible – this is a film that embraces its artifice and theatricality and, in its breakneck pace and rhythmic fluidity, plays more like a screwball comedy or backstage musical than a conventional biopic.

    Act One finds Jobs at the De Anza Community College in Cupertino, California, as he is about to unveil the first-ever Macintosh. Expectations are high – the Ridley Scott-directed commercial “1984,” which posited Apple as the world’s great hope in breaking IBM’s stranglehold and bringing computers to the masses, had aired during the Super Bowl and generated tremendous buzz for the product. Jobs has a vision, not just for his creation but also for himself, and he expects all those around him to bend to his will. When beleaguered system-software developer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) informs him the voice demo contains a system error, Jobs insists he fix it as he believes it crucial that the world hear the computer say “Hello.” When Hertzfeld protests, Jobs reminds him he had three weeks to make it work, more than enough time – after all, God was able to create the world in six days. “Someday you’ll have to tell us how you did it,” Andy quips, but he ultimately comes up with a workaround after Jobs blithely threatens to credit every person responsible for every element and expose Hertzfeld as the sole weak link. When marketing and communications Andy Cunningham (Sarah Snook) tells Jobs that the fire department advises against turning off the Exit signs for the presentation, Jobs replies, “If a fire causes a stampede to the unmarked exits, it will have been well worth it for those who survive.”

    Jobs’ overwhelming hubris and intractability are at their most heartless during his interactions with Steve “Woz” Wozniak (Seth Rogen), Apple’s co-founder and the tech savant responsible for most of the company’s breakthroughs, and Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston), who rages at Jobs for letting her, the mother of his child Lisa (played at age 5 by Makenzie Moss, at age 9 by Ripley Sobo, and at 19 by Perla Haney-Jardine), live on welfare whilst his company stock is worth 441 million dollars. Jobs refuses Woz’s repeated requests to acknowledge the team behind the Apple II, the product that has been a source of consistent profitability; Jobs wants to look forward to the future, not back upon the past, but the genuine reason for not granting this small but significant gesture may lie in the fact that Woz and his team designed the Apple II without Jobs’ favoured “end-to-end control.”

    Lisa, however, is a more difficult fact to deny. Through most of the film, Jobs sidesteps the truth of her paternity though it is all too clear that Lisa has inherited his intelligence and ability to think ten steps ahead of everyone else. Only she and Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), Job’s key marketing executive, gain any traction with him. Hoffman, aside from being his invaluable employee, trusted confidante and de facto shrink, serves as his moral compass, urging him to be a better father to Lisa and to essentially follow Woz’s philosophy: “You can be decent and gifted at the same time.”

    Indeed, if nothing else, the film effectively depicts the difficulties of dealing with a man whose brilliance was matched by his monstrosity. This is a man who demands control of his own destiny even when he appears to be on the losing side as in Act Two, where the now-ousted Jobs has founded his new company NeXT and is about to introduce the “Cube,” an impractically priced but exquisitely designed computer model that has yet to possess an operating system. That maniacal unwillingness to cede control results in his lashing out at those he perceives as enemies, whether it be Time magazine for not putting him on the cover, his biological parents for rejecting him, Woz for chafing against being the Ringo Starr to his John Lennon, Chrisann for guilting him into financial and emotional support, or John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), the Apple CEO who was one of Job’s greatest supporters before allegedly blindsiding him with a boardroom takeover.

    Sorkin has taken obvious liberties, even poking fun at his set-up of having the characters take Jobs to task for his multitude of personal and professional sins mere moments before every presentation, but the daring works. The fictionalisation of the facts to suit the structure is diagrammatic yet tells one everything we need to know about his life, his work, and his relationships. The compressing of time ensures narrative propulsion. The recognisable prosody of Sorkin’s dialogue is particularly synaptic – the verbal exchanges pulsate with ferocious electricity. Boyle, meanwhile, gives each act its individual look and feel – greens and greys and 16mm for the first act, reds and golds and 35mm for the second act, and Kubrickian earth tones and high-definition for the final act. His dynamic direction enhances the vibrancy and immediacy of Sorkin’s script, and imbues a sophistication to the swirl of chaos that is conducted with military precision. This is the rare film that can be taken apart and have its individual components analysed and not found lacking.

    The cast is exemplary. Michael Fassbender as Jobs is simply superlative. Ashton Kutcher may have had a better resemblance to the real-life Jobs in the mediocre 2013 Jobs, but Fassbender easily overcomes the hurdle with a transformative and immersive portrayal. In fact, so deep does he burrow under Jobs’ skin that one has to remind oneself that it is Fassbender onscreen. The actor not only handles Sorkin’s dialogue with ease and dexterity, but he skillfully embodies Jobs’ force of personality, unswerving confidence, demonic energy, and Machiavellian manipulation with pitch-perfect calibration.

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  • Quickie Review:

    Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender), the founder and CEO of Apple is known around the world for his passion and drive to further technology. His success in the industry was not a smooth journey, and came with a lot of personal and professional sacrifices. The man behind some of the biggest technology shifts is revealed with each of the three critical product unveils. Steve Jobs, is no ordinary biographical film. This is not the story of his life, but about the man and why he sees the world and people the way he does. The performances are flawless and nuanced, with the incredible script from Aaron Sorkin flowing the narrative without a moment wasted. Sure to get some award considerations, this is one that should not be missed.

    Full Review:

    Before the movie even was in production there were multiple highly talented actors involved in the project at one point or another. The likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, just to name a few. It is hard not to wonder how great is the script that all these actors and actresses want to be cast. After watching the film it is clear to me why there was so much intrigue.

    In the end, we got a different cast but in no way were they a compromise. Michael Fassbender fully embodied what the public has come to know about Steve Jobs. He is smart, cold, calculating, and outright cruel sometimes. Yet what Fassbender did here was to give us the answer the question: why? There is reason behind his actions, and watching Fassbender masterfully explore those reasons was completely fascinating. You may not agree with the man, but you will come to understand him. That was the nuance I was expecting to see, and it was delivered. Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman was a great addition in the movie. She was the counter balance to Steve Jobs. Winslet was the perfect companion to Fassbender’s performance, drawing out more of Jobs’ thought process. This film is not just about Jobs but also his relation with his daughter Lisa. We see Lisa at three different ages, and so three different actresses, but all of them fit into the narrative, and don’t feel like they are just a tool to develop  Jobs’ character. This may have to do with the fact these child actresses were well-directed and so their interactions with Fassbender felt genuine. Another notable addition to the cast was Jeff Daniels as John Sculley. Daniels and Fassbender share the screens together multiple times, but the rising tension in their relationship is palpable, particularly in one scene that I’ll come back to in a moment (no spoilers).

    None of the cast would matter if it weren’t for the Aaron Sorkin’s script and Danny Boyles’ direction. The film is structured into three parts, each a couple of hours before a major product unveiling. So a lot of major interactions occur in a short amount of time with all the important people in Jobs’ life. This will seem extremely coincidental, but if you can get past that it actually serves the narrative much better. We are no longer anchored to the chronological storytelling of every other biographical film ever made. Instead the story is focused, clear, and concise, keeping the pacing consistent in a purely dialogue driven film. That brings me back to the scene between Daniels and Fassbender because it was the impeccable example of how well the dialogue was written. I was biting my nails (bad habit I know) during a scene of just two people talking!

    If I had any complain it’d be that the unique structure, while resulting in an interesting way of storytelling, does hinder the director from exploring the gaps in between. Nevertheless, the performances are so captivating and the dialogues so engaging that I was fully invested into the moment. I highly recommend this film.

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  • In the past few years, there have been two major movies about the life of tech entrepreneur Steve Jobs, the creative genius behind Apple.

    The first in 2013 was called simply “Jobs” and starred Ashton Kutcher in the title role. The second in 2015 went for the title “Steve Jobs” and Michael Fassbender filled the eponymous role. Both films have at their emotional core the expulsion of Jobs from Apple in 1985 and his triumphant return in 1996, but the later work builds the narrative around three pressured product launches – the Apple Mac in 1984, the NeXT computer in 1988, and the iMac in 1998- with flash-backs to seminal moments in the man’s turbulent career.

    The second film is much the better one. It has a more accomplished director in the British Danny Boyle rather than Joshua Michael Stern. It has a much more creative writer in Aaron Sorlkin – the man behind “The West Wing” and the writer of “The Social Network” – compared to first-timer Matt Whitely. And the Irish Fassbender is just so much more impressive than Kutcher.

    Indeed there are some excellent performances in support roles too, including Seth Rogen (as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak), Jeff Daniels (as Apple chairman John Sculley), and Michael Stuhlbarg (as senior team member Andy Hertzfeld). Another thespian strength of the movie is that it has a pivotal role for a woman, the wonderful Kate Winslet, as long-suffering – but loyal yet defiant – marketing executive Joanna Hoffman, plus a support role for Katherine Watertown as the mother of Jobs’ daughter whom he originally treated appallingly.

    Like “The Social Network”, “Steve Jobs” is a wordy work but Sorkin is a master craftsman of dialogue with fast and furious exchanges that communicate so much about events and character. And the actors revel in the kinetic energy of the script and direction with Fassbender rarely off the screen in one bruising encounter after another. Fassbender may not look as similar to Jobs as Kutcher but he totally occupies the role and makes the movie.

  • When you watch the movie “Steve Jobs” (R, 2:02), you are witnessing genius. That’s a word that shouldn’t be used lightly, but here it fits – on multiple levels. The subject of this biopic is basically universally considered a genius for bringing personal computing into the homes of average people and changing our lives in other ways as well. But Jobs himself is only the most obvious example of genius in this particular motion picture. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote the TV shows “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom” and films including “A Few Good Men”, “The Social Network” and “Moneyball”, once again shows his own genius for writing dialog and constructing scenes in which interactions among people become high drama. If anything, in the script for this film, he tops himself by giving the story a unique presentation. Add all that to the inspired direction of Oscar winner Danny Boyle (who won for directing 2007’s Best Picture Oscar Winner “Slumdog Millionaire”), plus brilliant acting, and you have a film with genius to spare. Genius, however, doesn’t necessarily equal perfection.

    Steve Jobs, visionary genius that he was, was far from perfect – as an individual or a businessman. He had a daughter with college girlfriend Chrisann Brennan, but denied paternity for years. Even after he accepted Lisa Brennan as his daughter, he had almost as much trouble relating to her as he did relating to others in his life. Think of a derogatory term, anatomical or otherwise, that people apply to males they don’t like, and Steve Jobs has been called it. Loyal to only a very few, no one was safe from Jobs’ rudeness, often unreasonable demands or contempt when they disagreed with him. And let’s not forget that, at Apple, he developed the Macintosh, which flopped. He got fired from Apple, founded NeXT Computer and developed the NeXT Box computer, which also flopped. Even geniuses make mistakes, but what recommends them as geniuses, in the 20/20 hindsight of history, are the final results and long-term impact of their accomplishments. Steve Jobs scores undeniably high marks in those areas.

    The triumphs and tragedies, successes and failures, mistakes and mayhem in Steve Jobs’ life, as described above, are all part of the film “Steve Jobs”, but are encapsulated in a unique way. The movie takes place immediately before three crucial product launches staged in large auditoriums. The settings are the unveiling of the Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT Box in 1988 and the iMac in 1998. In each case, Jobs (played by Michael Fassbender), with his long-suffering PR manager, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), at his side, he interacts with Chrisann (Katherine Waterston) and their daughter, Lisa (played at five, ten and nineteen by Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, and Makenzie Moss) as well as his partner in founding Apple, Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), Macintosh designer, Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Apple CEO, John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) plus others, through the various stages of warmth, apathy and conflict between them and Jobs at these specific moments in time. The movie gives us these three main scenes, adds a few brief flashback scenes to illustrate other important moments in Jobs’ professional life, and that’s basically the movie. If that doesn’t sound interesting, it’s most likely due to my lack of genius in communicating the true genius of Sorkin, Boyle and many others associated with this film.

    “Steve Jobs” is a terrific cinematic experience. Although Sorkin’s writing fabricates conversations for dramatic purposes, many of the people portrayed in the film have admitted that those conversations reflect events and feelings that were valid at those moments, and the script is vintage Sorkin. He has a particular genius for telling a story mainly through conversations which he manages to make dramatic, insightful and humorous – and this may be his best work ever. Boyle’s direction, plus some creative and skillful editing, bring the script to life wonderfully and Boyle gets consistently remarkable work from his actors in roles large and small. The acting is of such high quality across the board, that it’s very tough to single out just one or two actors for special praise amid a long list of award-worthy performances. A few moments in the film do feel like they’re walking a line between believable and unrealistic, but those moments are few and far between. Like the real Steve Jobs’ accomplishments, the accomplishment that is the film “Steve Jobs” isn’t perfect, but at least in my MacBook, they both earn the label of genius. “A”

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