Courtesy, Universal Pictures

Movie Review: The Fabelmans

15:00 November 29, 2022
By: David Vicari

Master filmmaker Steven Spielberg directs The Fabelmans, a semi-autobiographical film based on his youth. This is an absolutely wonderful picture about following your dreams, and how art can stir the soul.

The Spielberg character is named Sammy Fabelman, and we first meet Sammy as a child (Mateo Zoryan) experiencing his first movie going experience in a theater. The film is 1952's The Greatest Show on Earth, and young Sammy becomes obsessed with a sequence in the movie depicting a train crash. His mother films Sammy's toy trains crashing so he can watch it on film over and over instead of constantly crashing - and breaking - the toys.

After this prelude, we jump to Sammy as a teenager (Gabriel LaBelle) with a passion for making movies using his Super 8 camera. His life, however, is not all roses and sunshine. The family moves a lot, due to his father's job, his parents are on the verge of divorce, and Sammy gets bullied at school because of his Jewish faith. It's his love of making movies that helps him through the trials and tribulations of his young life.

LaBelle really does resemble a young Spielberg, and his performance is very affecting. Michelle Williams plays Sammy's lively and emotional mother, Mitzi, and Paul Dano is his quiet and analytical father, Burt. Williams and Dano are excellent as a married couple who are total opposites. Seth Rogen, known for his comedic parts, is good in a crucial role as Burt's best friend, Bennie. There is also a hilarious cameo by director David lynch (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me) as legendary filmmaker John Ford (The Quiet Man, The Searchers). That's inspired casting!

The films of Steven Spielberg have deep meaning for me. I have great memories from my youth of seeing (multiple times) Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. They were my escape, so it is fun seeing The Fabelmans and watching for little hints from Spielberg's youth that would ultimately find their way into his movies.

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