Steven Spielberg has always told his life story, but never like this. From close encounters of the third kind to aliens to artificial intelligence and beyond, it's clear from Families that the director's upbringing has had a huge impact on his work. However, this is his 33rd film, probably his most personal, and sheds new light and expands the 76-year-old actor's catalog.
Despite its name, Fabelmans is neither a sitcom nor a fable, and it is hardly fantasy. Along with Tony Kushner, the creator of Munich, Lincoln and West Side Story, Spielberg finds meaning in himself because the family of titles is largely based on him.
The 20-year-old story centers on young Sammy Feibelman (Mateo Zorion Francis-DeFord as a child and Gabrielle LaBelle as a teenager), who falls in love with the movies when the biggest show on earth comes and takes him. by his parents. , illustrated by Michelle Williams and Paul Dano. His mother, Mitzi, is an avid pianist and his father, Bert, is a computer engineer, so Sammy is closer to his artist mother than his scientist father. But during a lo-fi college film shoot starring a rising star, the nuclear family begins to fall apart.
Backed by a bittersweet script, Dano and Williams are excellent, the former stoic and sensitive, the latter bold but unpretentious. Their characters' marriage offers plenty of dramatic thrust, and the pair do well in such duties, while the bumbling Leibel is charming as Sammy and Seth Rogen is surprisingly impressive as his father's best friend Benny.
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As the memoir progresses, cinephiles warm to Spielberg's work and the experiences that shaped him, but Fabelman isn't just for moviegoers. As with the best of Spielberg's sentimental blockbusters, this story is told with incredible imagery, and with resident cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, the director dazzles, turning the potentially mundane into the miraculous. Cutting filmstrips with a cutter or smashing a model train in the garage has never been more exciting and cinematic.
Likewise, a self-made resume has no ego. Spielberg does not hesitate to show the benefits and dangers of seeing life through the lens of a camera, because in addition to the low humor that continues until the last frame, the film has a seriousness and melancholy that almost lies beneath the joy hide. . the skin
The price of this complexity is its 151 minute running time, but those intimidated by it, or put off by the idea of yet another film serving as a "love letter to the cinema", will be happy to find it. as fast as Fabelmans. – when the ground is covered. As the narrative reflects a "Cinema Paradise" extolling the virtues of cinema, the final segment surprises, recalling the high school drama American Graffiti by Spielberg's contemporary and friend George Lucas.
From Judd Hirsch, who stars as Sammy's eccentric ex-uncle, to award-winning director David Lynch, who makes a late appearance as a famous Hollywood director and Spielberg hero, there are treats too.
The final scene notes how Spielberg is still full of wonder despite being 70 years old. It feels like we've waited decades for Fabelman, but the masterful director makes it clear that this unique late-career accolade wasn't the film he always wanted to make, but the one he had to build on.
The Fabelmans opens in UK cinemas on Friday 27 January 2023. Check out our movie coverage or check out our TV & Broadcast Guide to see what's on.
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