The Fabelmans – REVIEW

The Fabelmans – REVIEW
Image: Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy Fabelman in The Fabelmans. Image: film still

Stephen Spielberg is an illustrious film director, possibly the most prominent in Hollywood. His latest movie is a love letter to filmmaking depicting the events in his childhood and teenage years that inspired him to become a film director.

The movie highlights the ups and downs in his early life; the prejudice he experienced as a child for being Jewish, the several relocations he experienced owing to his father’s livelihood, the death of his grandmother and the eventual divorce of his parents.

Paul Dano, Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen in The Fabelmans. Image: film still

His parents initially detested his dream of being a filmmaker, but quickly supported him when they realized he had genuine artistic flare in this field.

Initially spellbinding, Spielberg’s magical touch was evident in this movie. Beautifully filmed a quasi-fairy tale was unfolding on screen, with captivating performances by Mateo Zoryan and Gabriel LaBelle as the younger and older Sammy Fabelman respectively, and Paul Dano and Michelle Williams portraying his parents.

Mateo Zoryan and Michelle Williams. Image: film still

But the magic was not to last, ultimately delivering at best a ‘mixed bag’. So why did the movie derail?

At a running time of just over 2.5 hours the film concentrated too much on the events that influenced him to become a film director resulting in somewhat  laborious viewing. Concentrating more scenes on his actual involvement in the filmmaking process would have been of more interest.

Also cutting the running time back by at least 30 minutes would have delivered a more streamlined and watchable movie.

What also stood out as strange and detracted were Michelle William’s sinister smiles which she was most certainly directed by Spielberg to deliver in many scenes, reminiscent of the robotic smiles delivered in the satirical feminist film The Stepford Wives.

Spielberg’s purpose in producing this movie was to highlight his love and passion for the art of filmmaking but unfortunately underwhelmed in the process. The movie is not a complete train wreck but what was anticipated to be a 5 star cinematic event faltered resulting in a somewhat average film.

Critics are raving about this film inexplicably allocating 5 star ratings but the question that needs to be asked is, would this film have garnered such accolade had it been written and produced by an unknown filmmaker?


In Cinemas January 5

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