The Fabelmans ★★★★
Starring Gabriel LaBelle, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Jeannie Berlin
Steven Spielberg delivers a passionate ode to filmmaking in this semi-autobiographical contemporary family drama that ranks among some of the directors best.
The Fabelmans tells the coming-of-age story of Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle), a young Jewish boy living in the 1950's who discovers a desire to create motion pictures. While his father (Paul Dano) moves the family around America for his job, Sammy begins to learn more about the process of creating true cinema and the importance of following your heart as encouraged by his mother (Michelle Williams).
The key word is passion. Not only is The Fabelmans an indulgent passion project much like Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but the ripe core of the movie is passion itself. The many layers of the family drama become a lesson to both Sammy and the audience in finding your true path in life and the effects it can have on the people around you. Passion is present as both precious and dangerous, not just fuel for the protagonist but pure fuel that can take you to the moon or blow up in your face, like life itself.
The cast all work well together as aa family, with special praise to emotional moments governed by both Dano and Williams. Even Seth Rogen creates a moving performance as he continues distancing himself from his classic 'stoner persona'.
At times, certain moments border on cliché, possibly due to the timeless direction of a master of his art looking back with wonder and confidence, or it could be the amplification of emotion generated by the nostalgia of hearing god composer John Williams deliver yet again a score that makes the heart of the movie beat deeper.
Overall, The Fabelmans holds up in the halls of Spielberg's greats as a love letter to cinema and directors who dream of creating true art from pieces of their actual life. At the end, the audience will take away the crystal clear lesson of always following your heart and feel all the more inspired for it.
The Fabelmans available in UK cinemas from 27th January 2023