The Fabelmans

Admidttedly I am a Steven Spielberg fan. I have loved his work since I saw the Night Gallery episode starring Joan Crawford at the beginning of his career. There have been some of his films that weren’t the best, but when he is good, he’s very, very good. “The Fabelmans” is a semi-autobiographical look at his youth through his teens focusing on how he became obsessed with being a filmmaker. Like last year’s “Licorice Pizza” it is a coming of age story, but with more relatable characters and a more realistic plot. The cast is perfect starting with the young actor who plays Sammy Fabelman, Gabriel LaBelle. He is natural, realistic and totally believable. I think we are seeing the beginning of a new star. His mother, as played by Michelle Williams, is a free spirit, artistic, loving and somewhat flighty. I loved that she served all meals on paper plates and cleaned the table by picking up the table cloth and throwing everything away. Sammy’s father, Bert, is played by Paul Dano in his most controlled performance today. Dano’s character is a computer genius in the 1950’s; the opposite of his artsy wife. Seth Rogen plays Benny, the family’s best friend. This is Rogen’s most controlled performance to date and he is quite good. Finally, in a cameo performance, Judd Hirsch plays Uncle Boris, a former circus performer who works in movies. Hirsch is mesmerizing. I especially enjoyed the scenes where Sammy is directing movies with his friends. Some of his improvised techniques are very creative. We witness him growing as a filmmaker. The final portion of the film takes place in California and it takes on a darker tone that includes the break up of his parents’ marriage and anti-semitism bullying. It is no less compelling and adds to Sammy’s maturity. I really enjoyed this film and recommend it to everyone. Watch for lots of deserved awards. See it!

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