The Fabelmans, rated PG-13
The Fabelmans is a well-made and acted film that is a fictionalized version of Steven Spielberg’s life story through his time in college, as he grew up in New Jersey, Arizona and California. The film is directed by three-time Oscar winner Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List) and written by him and two-time Oscar nominee Tony Kushner (Lincoln, Munich).
The film, which features an excellent cast who deliver strong performances, focuses on Sammy’s love of filming, the dynamics of his family, and the antisemitism he encounters at a high school in California.
In 1952, Sammy’s parents Burt, a scientist, played by Emmy nominee Paul Dano (Escape at Dannemora, Love & Mercy), and Mitzi, a pianist, played by four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week with Marilyn, Manchester by the Sea), take six-year-old Sammy, played by Mateo Zoryan, to his first film The Greatest Show on Earth. Sammy is obsessed by a train crash that is depicted in the film. He asks for a train set for Christmas so that he can recreate and film the crash with his father’s movie camera, thus beginning his love of filmmaking.
A co-worker of Burt’s, and a close family friend, is Bennie, played by five-time Emmy nominee Seth Rogan (Pam & Tommy, Diabolical, The Boys, Da Ali G Show). At Mitzi’s insistence, Bennie moves with the family to Arizona when Burt changes jobs.
The film follows Sammy’s development as a filmmaker, played by Gabriel LaBelle. One day, to cheer up Mitzi, Burt asks Sammy to make a film about the family’s recent camping trip. It’s when reviewing the film he shot that Sammy discovers a terrible secret that will change their family forever.
The sets and costumes from the 1960’s were excellent, as was the music from five-time Oscar winner John Williams (Schindler’s List, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Star Wars, Jaws, Fiddler on the Roof). Oscar nominee Judd Hirsch (Ordinary People), appears in a small role as Uncle Boris who visits after his sister (Mitzi’s mother) died.
The Fabelmans is a well-made and acted film about Steven Spielberg’s life through his time in college.