The Fabelmans – TIFF 2022

The Fabelmans

The Fabelmans – TIFF 2022

Release Date: November 11, 2022
Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, a young man named Sammy Fabelman discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.

September 8 to

September 18, 2022

A young man pursues a career in filmmaking as his family life disintegrates in . Since being taken to see The Greatest Show on Earth as a child, Sammy Fabelman () has had a growing love of filmmaking. Excused as a hobby by his computer engineer father, Burt (), Sammy finds support in his endeavours from his mother, Mitzi (). However, when Sammy discovers a secret while editing footage from a camping trip, it threatens to change the family's relationship forever.

The Fabelmans is a semi-autobiographical drama co-written and directed by Steven Spielberg. The lead protagonist of Sammy Fabelman, played by newcomer Gabriel LaBelle, is a fictionalized representation of Spielberg, who has to deal with the frequent moves of his family, who are joined by Sammy's father, Burt's best friend Bennie (), who is viewed as an uncle. Given some tough advice on his filmmaking ambitions by his mother's Uncle Boris (), Sammy has to choose between the acceptance of his family or his love of cinema.

As the most personal film of Steven Speilberg, The Fabelmans can be seen as an encapsulation of the filmmaker's five-decade-long career. In addition to his childhood filmmaking ambitions, Spielberg also uses The Fabelmans to tackle his Jewish identity, particularly the anti-Semitic bullying Sammy receives for being the only Jew in his high school.

The best performance in The Fabelmans belongs to Judd Hirsch as Uncle Boris, despite only having limited screen time in the film. The film also features a hilarious cameo by David Lynch as legendary director John Ford, who ends up being the cherry on top of the film. On the flip side, I have to admit that I found Michelle Williams to be trying too hard in her role of Mitzi Fabelman, particularly the unnatural-sounding Jewish accent she uses. However, the film does feature a solid supporting performance by Seth Rogen, reuniting with Williams a decade after Take this Waltz.

While The Fabelmans does tip the scales somewhat with its 151-minute running time, the film ultimately ends up being the quintessential film of Steven Spielberg's career.

Trailer for The Fabelmans – TIFF 2022

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.