The Fabelmans Review: This Spielberg Film Is a Masterpiece of Sentimental Beauty!
In 2022, filmmakers decided it was time to make something personal and semi-autobiographical. James Gray made Armageddon Time, Alejandro G. I Inarritu made Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, and Sam Mendes is coming out with Empire of Light later this year. But one of the most personal, riveting films of the year comes in the form of Steven Spielberg s The Fabelmans. This is a coming-of-age drama about young Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle), who aspires to be a filmmaker while growing up in a dysfunctional family. Spielberg s first writing credit in over 20 years proves to be a charming delight, showcasing a semi-autobiographic tale in a beautiful fashion.
Following the success of their West Side Story adaptation from the previous year, Spielberg and author Tony Kushner have teamed up to create a fictionalized account of Spielberg’s formative years. The Fabelmans’ son goes to the movies with Mitzi (Michelle Williams) and Burt (Paul Dano) to see The Greatest Show on Earth. Movies, in Mitzi’s words, are dreams you never forget. Sammy Fabelman realized he wanted to be a filmmaker the moment he saw his first movie. He would record miniature train sets colliding and replay the footage over and over.
The movies have a certain enchantment to them. Spielberg is a master of this art form, which involves telling a tale with 24 images each second. Nobody else could tell his narrative better than he could, and he does an amazing job of it with a screenplay rich in specifics and a directing style that is equally complex. Sometimes it seems like The Fabelmans is attempting to balance too many facets of Spielberg’s life since it is so intensely personal. The film’s astonishing ability to maintain coherence and interest for the entirety of this coming-of-age tale is narrated with typical Spielbergian flare.
LaBelle and Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord, who plays a younger Sammy Fabelman, both do a fantastic job with the part. Williams is excellent and given a lot of dramatic weight to work with. Dano excels in a much more understated part than his work in The Batman earlier this year, and Seth Rogen once again demonstrates his acting prowess when he is not portraying a different version of himself in a comic movie. Together, the group produces a labor of love that practically leaps off the screen.
The Fabelmans, which tells its stories through music and images rather than words, excels in its quieter moments. The narrative explores the influence of movies and how Sammy employs them throughout. He utilizes film to tell a story and to alter reality so that it speaks to his perspective. This multi-layered dramatic tale masterfully uses cinematic language to depict the various ways in which Sammy employs his gift for filming for various goals. A concluding shot that will make you smile and the film’s clever comedy both play a key role in how well the whole thing comes together.
Spielberg is at the ideal time in his career to make a picture of the enchantment and power of cinema. This is a film that dares to make you think of the first movie you ever saw before pushing you even further to consider the film that made you fall in love with cinema. The account of his early years is one that is definitely worth viewing because it comes from the director of many of those movies, including Jaws, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and currently, The Fabelmans.
As stated in ComingSoon’s review policy, a score of 8 equals Great. This score indicates that the artwork accomplishes its objective and makes a lasting impression, despite a few small flaws.