Director: Steven Spielberg | Screenplay: Tony Kushner, Steven Spielberg| Cast: Michelle Williams (Mitzi Fabelman), Paul Dano (Burt Fabelman), Gabriel LaBelle (Sam Fabelman), Seth Rogen (Uncle Bennie), Judd Hirsh (Uncle Boris), ea | Time to play: 151 minutes | Year: 2022
Sam Fabelman discovers at a very young age that he is talented and enjoys making movies. As he becomes this, his family begins to fall apart. His parents love each other, but one more than the other. Sam is the first to see where things are going wrong and he doesn’t know how to deal with it. If he goes to the movies or heeds his grandfather’s warning: choose the people around you, because if you focus on your art you create a distance.
Sam Fabelman=Steven Spielberg. It’s not a character that he’s put a bit of himself into, no, this is literally an autobiographical film. The main focus of the plot is exactly how Spielberg’s life went when he was a child. It’s not a fairy tale, so it’s good that Spielberg gives us a glimpse into his private life. A broken marriage, repeatedly moving to another US state because his father is offered a better job, a good deal of anti-Semitism.
In real life, Steven Spielberg seems like a very nice guy. So it makes sense that Sam Fabelman would be a likeable character. He may be too good a person for a movie, because he doesn’t make it very three-dimensional. In the first few minutes, Sam is a little boy who occasionally freaks out too quickly, but he soon grows into the perfect son – Sam’s character is flawless.
Maybe that’s what Spielberg really was, a sweet and talented boy. In this movie about his life, he makes the perfect lead. So who is the antagonist? Looks like that’s Mother Fabelman. Sometimes she is selfish – she says so herself at one point – and sometimes mentally she is not completely healthy. That makes her the most interesting character and kudos to Michelle Williams who plays this role excellently.
It’s strange that Sam has a difficult relationship with his mother, because when you watch Spielberg’s movies there are usually frictions with a father (figure). the protagonist of jaws is a father, the main character of [i[Close Encounters[/i] is father, in Eastern Time the main character is a boy who has to deal with the death of his father. There are plenty of examples.
Pa Fabelman is a special character: as Spielberg’s real father, a pioneering computer developer, incredibly smart but deadly boring, clumsy in his bad marriage. But not distant. He’s The Fabelmans then at the same time a confession that Spielberg resents his mother? It’s a fascinating look at a family where creativity and logic collide.
In the second half, the flow is slightly interrupted. While Sam’s dedication to the movie business is shown through scenes in which he manages his friends, the focus is on family. That changes when Sam goes to a high school in a new town where he encounters bullies and discrimination. Certainly no less interesting, but it still feels like a sudden change of direction. He really happened to Spielberg and it leads him to discover just how much power movies can have.
The cinematography by Spielberg’s regular cameraman, Janusz Kaminski, is strict, but remarkably standard. Once again shot on film rather than digital, but there are no striking or exceptionally impressive shots in between. Composer John Williams was clearly inspired by the piano music that used to accompany silent movies. The image from more than seventy years ago is completely compelling.
The Fabelmans It is a very good movie with flaws, mainly in the narration. Still, it’s understandable that Spielberg wanted to keep it as close to reality as possible. Not a bad reason to go to the movies. You get a real look into the story of the director who was born with the talent to make us feel something through a camera and who made Hollywood movies even bigger than they already were.