Review: The Fabelmans
A Steven Spielberg movie about his childhood back in the 1950s sounds like a ticket to a cotton-candy apocalypse. But The Fabelmans, while certainly sweet, is never sugary. It glimmers with Spielbergian signifiers—spunky kids, twinkly Christmas lights, cozy suburban homes. Beneath the fairyland glow, however, darker forces are at work—betrayal, despair, heartbreak, and death. The movie is a very grown-up mix of joys and sorrows, and it’s deeply engaging.
Spielberg’s great achievement here is managing to present a full account of his late parents, Leah and Arnold, with all of their foibles and defects, and to embrace them. His family is now called the Fabelmans—mom is Mitzi, dad is Burt—and they’re played, to virtual perfection, by Michelle Williams and Paul Dano. The young Spielberg is represented by Sammy Fabelman (played at first by Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord, later by Gabriel LaBelle). There are also three lively younger sisters, a grumpy grandmother, and a colorful uncle named Boris (played so broadly by Judd Hirsch that you marvel there’s room for anyone else on screen whenever he’s up there).
As the Fabelmans’ story gathers grip, we also observe Sammy’s blossoming love of movies. The picture begins in 1952, with the boy and his parents sitting in a theatre watching a Cecil B. DeMille circus epic, The Greatest Show on Earth—Sammy’s first cinematic experience. The film contains a spectacular train-wreck scene that Sammy later recreates using a toy train set and his father’s 8mm home-movie camera. Over time, with Burt’s financial help, he eventually moves up to a pricier Bolex camera and a sm
Article from Reason.com