The Fablemans movie review: Steven Spielberg makes a spectacular movie about making movies.

The Fablemans movie review: Steven Spielberg makes a spectacular movie about making movies.

The Fablemans movie review: Steven Spielberg makes a spectacular movie about making movies.

What: The Fablemans – nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture, best director and best actress, the master Steven Spielberg gives us a spectacular movie about making movies.

The Fablemans movie review

When you watch a wonderful film, does it not play in your head at night in your dreams? Have you seen a film where the dialogue resonates with your own life? When you are so crazy for the movies that you take notes about everything that happens to you in real life so you can use it in a screenplay you are secretly writing?

Steven Spielberg may be telling us his life’s story in The Fabelmans, but I was sitting in the theatre tears of sadness and joy, of amazement and regret rolling down my cheeks because I was seeing a reflection of parts of my own life on the big screen.    

The film is a story of a young boy Sam Fabelman (played by Gabriel LaBelle) who is introduced to the movies by his parents when they take him to watch The Greatest Show On Earth. The film stays in the boy’s head until his mother Mitzi (played beautifully by the wonderful Michelle Williams) gives him his father Super 8 camera and tells the boy to shoot the train accident (a scene from the movie that keeps the boy awake at night) with the toy train so he doesn’t ruin the gift he has received for Hanukkah.

Sam’s father, played with gentle sensitivity by Paul Dano, supports his son’s new-found love for making movies (his two sisters are willing actors) as long as he concentrates on science and mathematics. Sam wants to make movies. He has been ensnared by the magic. Soon he’s making movies for the boy scouts at school, roping in classmates to make movies.

Sam is constantly shooting movies and stumbles upon his mother’s secret love: Sam’s father’s best friend Bennie (played by Seth Rogan). Bennie has been around the Fabelmans forever. Though Sam’s father has more intelligence than Bennie, why does he not suspect that his wife’s affection is getting divided? Or does he suspect his wife of infidelity? Is that why they move from job to a better job? Does finding out his mother’s secret make Sam hate his mother? Hate Uncle Bennie?

It’s when Sam’s father moves to California that Sam discovers that he is in a school where Jewish students are in a minority and faces lots of anti-sematic hatred. He begins to dread going to school. With that footage he has seen of his mother’s attachment to Bennie, Sam has given up making movies. Will a girl called Monica lure him back to making movies by lending him her father’s Arriflex camera? Or will Sam get over the madness that is the movies and follow his father’s ordinary life of work and home? Is Mitzi’s mad love for life inside Sam?

Of course, you cannot forget Uncle Boris. Oh my god! What an unforgettable character! He visits Sam’s home and tells tales of running away to the circus because an ordinary life was not for him. Making movies is like running away to join the circus isn’t it? You cannot explain why you want to write about the movies, or make movies… And you look at people strangely when they ask: yes, yes, you write about movies, you watch movies (and in Sam’s case, he makes movies), but what do you do for a living?


The Fablemans - final words

How can you explain the love you have for the movies? How can you explain that you dream in technicolour, that you have flashbacks and you think of tropes and camera angles? That your pantheon has Ray, Kurosawa, Almodovar?

If you have nodded in affirmative to any of these questions, then watch Spielberg’s masterpiece. If you know someone who loves the movies, watch this film. If I could give ten stars to a film, this would be it.


Rating : 5/5

Director :
Writer :
Actress :

About Grouch on the couch by Manisha Lakhe

Grouch on the couch by Manisha Lakhe

A cinephile who chills on cinema around the globe. Her rants & grants entirely depends on the movies she comes acrosss. if not watching films can be heard talking about them. FB/manishalakhe More By Grouch on the couch by Manisha Lakhe

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