disclosure: We were invited to a special screening of The Fabelmans in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own. No other compensation was received.
Steven Spielberg returns this holiday season to captivate audiences in “The Fabelmans,” a self-love letter written to movies as an ode to the nostalgia of cinema that inspired the world renowned director, Steven Spielberg himself to become a director. “The Fabelmans” is a semi-autobiographical story loosely based on Spielberg’s upbringing, and the discovery for his passion for cinema and directing. Spielberg’s illustrious career has spanned nearly five decades and this film provide a new and rigorously emotional and honest films for Spielberg.
The movie relies on storytelling and understanding the life of the Fabelmans, starting with Sammy (Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord) and his parents, Burt (Paul Dano) and Mitzi (Michelle Williams) going to see “The Greatest Show on Earth” as it is suggested to be a good introduction to the world of film for Sammy. Startled yet captivated by the iconic cinematic train crash in Cecil B. DeMille’s iconic film, Sammy is infatuated by the magic that is cinema and begins his burning passion for film.
For Hanukkah, Sammy asks for a train set (each train car and tracks for each day of Hanukkah), but he doesn’t tell his parents his motive for the locomotive. Realizing that his goal is to recreate the scene he saw at the movie theater, his mother insists and purchases a camera for him, his first of many.
The film sets forward to 10 years later, Sammy (now known as Sam, and portrayed by Gabriel LaBelle) is inspired to create a Western, inspired by the great John Ford’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”, and uses his friends to capture his own rendition of a Western.
Following the death of Mitzi’s mother, an unexpected visit from Mitzi’s brother Morris (Judd Hirsch), and the wild antics of the flirtatious best friend Bennie (played by the witty Seth Rogan), the Fabelman family is bound for an emotional turn of events that will take audiences through Spielberg’s own personal grief throughout the rest of the film. While reviewing footage of the families camping trip, Sam notices that Bennie and Mitzi are becoming close, really close. A subtle nod to Spielberg’s own divorced parents.
The film continues to focus around the pursuit of filmmaking for Sam throughout high school, and ultimately leaves the audience to experience Sam’s biggest opportunity yet, a TV-show in Hollywood, while meeting the legendary filmmaker himself, John Ford. The movie leaves us with the excitement and sigh of relief of Sam’s dreams turning into a reality. A dream that started at the crash of a train.
Though “The Fabelmans” is not expected to be Spielberg’s blockbuster, it is a window into the world of Spielberg, what inspired him to direct and how the story of Spielberg came to be. It masterfully shows Spielberg’s skills of visually and emotionally connecting audiences to a story.
“The Fablemans” premieres in theaters November 23, this Thanksgiving holiday and is rated PG-13. Runtime is 151 minutes.
Ever since he was young, Matt was enamored and glued to anything Disney. From the movies, to Playhouse Disney, to frequent visits to Walt Disney World. Disney was Matt’s childhood. As he grew up, and his interests went from movie fandom, to park operations fandom, his desire for spread to Disney Parks and his urge to work for Disney. Since then, he has completed numerous Disney College Programs, and is currently a proud Cast Member at his favorite park, EPCOT, having been apart of the opening teams for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Creations Shop, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind’s Treasures of Xandar.