OVERVIEW | Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, centers around a young Sammy Fabelman as he deals with family life and his passion for filmmaking.
November 23 2022
Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, centers around a young Sammy Fabelman as he deals with family life and his passion for filmmaking. Since his parents took him to see Cecil B. Demille’s The Greatest Show On Earth, Sammy becomes obsessed with filming movies for his family and the Boy Scouts.
While on a family camping trip, he accidently captures his mother’s affair with her husband’s best friend Bennie and it strains his relation with his mother and his desire for making movies. When Sammy’s father Burt, decides to uproot the family to California thanks to a better job, Sammy faces his first bout of anti-semitism from a school bully and life at home falls apart when his parents informs the family that they’re divorcing and his mother will be moving back to Arizona with Bennie.
Sammie eventually rediscovers his love for filmmaking and just when it seems like all is lost, an opportunity at CBS lands at his doorstep. The rest as they say is Hollywood history.
The Fabelmans might be Spielberg’s most personal story in his long list of curated masterpieces. The movie is essentially a retelling of his childhood but not quite autobiographical. While he’s done his share of popcorn flicks and blockbusters for major film studios, this film feels like it’s really for just him.
The writing is good and the cinematography is beautiful. The only problem is the running time. It’s a slow burn of a film coming just over two and a half hours. The early parts of the film breezes by but once the family moves to California, it seems like the flow of the film comes to a halt.
The film is also well casted. Gabriel Labelle who portrays Sammy as a teen, has an uncanny resemblance to Spielberg and handles the film’s emotional arch well. Michelle William’s who plays the familial matriarch has the meatier scenes in the film and performs them with a grace. Don’t be surprised if she gets an Oscar nomination for the role. The rest of the cast is well rounded while the high school jock in the film just looks too old for the part.
The Fabelmans is a good movie but it’s not one of Spielberg’s best. It has all the checkmarks required when it comes to the Oscars. While I’m sure it’ll get several nominations, I won’t be surprised if it comes away empty handed.