The Fabelmans is a semi-autobiographical film by Steven Spielberg.
The Fabelmans’ is Spielberg’s most personal project yet, and a wonderful culmination of a career spanning more than 50 years of filmmaking. For those with a strong passion and love for movies, is there anything more exciting than a new Steven Spielberg film making its way into theaters? The semi-autobiographical story is told through a series of vignettes from the perspective of Sammy Fabelman, a young aspiring filmmaker whose natural gift for the craft is almost like a superpower. Sammy’s knack for movie-making affects the world around him, from showing the truth of his family’s dysfunction to helping him deal with bullies at school.
Paul Dano and Michelle Williams portray Sammy’s parents as Burt and Mitzi Fabelman, respectively. Their performances, especially Williams’, are appropriately dreamlike. However, these scenes are memories, as seen through the eyes of their only son, and memories, whether positive or negative, tend to take on an illusory sheen. Seth Rogen plays Bennie, Burt’s best friend, whom the kids lovingly refer to as their “uncle.” The character is goofy and charming, which we know Rogen can do expertly while showing proper restraint during the emotional moments. Sammy is played by relative newcomer Gabriel LaBelle, who is fantastic as the young man carrying most of the film.
‘The Fabelmans’ is essentially a movie about the love of movies.
As young Sammy hones his craft, he creates several special effects leaving the audience saying, “Well, why didn’t I think of that?” But you have to take a step back and remember that Sammy is a young Spielberg, who we know is one of the best directors we’ve ever had. This also makes the gut-punch moments hit even harder when a picturesque family is disrupted by the real drama that we know is based on moments from Spielberg’s real life. These moments are emotional, but the film’s overall lighthearted tone helps you navigate through them with a certain deftness that still leaves you feeling charmed and happy by the time credits roll.
Spielberg has had this film formulated in his head for several decades.
Finally, it is getting a wide release after the recent deaths of both his parents (his mother passed away in 2017, and his father passed in 2020 at the age of 103). However, ‘The Fabelmans’ doesn’t feel like the airing of his family’s dirty laundry but rather a showcase of essential sequences that made Spielberg into the beloved filmmaker we know today. It’s the type of movie that reminds the audience of why they love movies, and it’s expertly crafted by one of the most beloved filmmakers who helped us develop a love for the medium in the first place.
I give The Fabelmans 5 out of 5 stars. It is a beautiful ode to movies and to one of the filmmakers who made us love them in the first place. It would be a wonderful send-off to crown Spielberg’s career, but it doesn’t look like he has any indication of slowing down soon. This is a wonderful film to watch with your family over the holidays.