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HomeEntertainmentSteven Spielberg’s THE FABELMANS is a touching and entertaining saga.

Steven Spielberg’s THE FABELMANS is a touching and entertaining saga.


February 8, 2023 The Fablemans (English) Steven Spielberg’s THE FABELMANS is a touching and entertaining saga.

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Gabriel LaBelle

Michelle Williams

Paul Dano

Julia Butters

Keeley Karsten

Sophia Kopera

Mateo Zoryan Francis-DeFord

Seth Rogen

Judd Hirsch

Jeannie Berlin

Sam Rechner

Oakes Fegley

Steven Spielberg’s THE FABELMANS is a touching and entertaining saga. en

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0.5 5 3.0

The Fablemans (English) Review {3.0/5} & Review Rating

THE FABELMANS is a coming-of-age story of an aspiring filmmaker in the 1950s. Sam Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) resides with his mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams), father Burt (Paul Dano) and sisters Regina (Julia Butters), Natalie (Keeley Karsten) and Lisa (Sophia Kopera) in New Jersey, USA. Burt is a computer genius and he works with his best friend Bennie (Seth Rogen). Mitzi is an expert piano player but had to give it up to raise her kids. One day, a very young Sam is taken to a movie theatre by his family to see The Greatest Show On Earth. Sam is stunned to see the scene where a train hits a car and then collides with another train. For Hanukkah, Sam asks for a miniature train set. Just like he saw in the film, he crashes his miniature train set into a toy car. Burt is disappointed but Mitzi understands his reason for doing so. They possess a video camera and Mitzi asks him to film the clash. Sam takes up the suggestion and soon, he starts filming regularly. The Fabelmans’ then move to Phoenix as Burt gets a better job in the Arizona city. Sam grows up and the family helps him when he shoots for films. Burt sees this as a hobby but Sam is adamant that he wants to pursue a career in filmmaking. Burt argues that it’s futile to do so because according to him, it will not help anyone in any way and that one should take up work which will be useful to society. As Sam struggles with his father’s disagreement, he gets another jolt when he realizes that his mother is cheating on Burt. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Movie Review: The Fabelmans (English)

Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner’s story is semi-autobiographical. Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner’s screenplay is well-penned and is replete with some very emotionally strong scenes. The way the writers have added humour in several such scenes is a mark of genius. Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner’s dialogues are conversational and sharp.

Steven Spielberg’s direction is marvellous. The film might come across as a story of a man who wants to make films. But essentially, it’s about a family and their ups and downs over the years and this is what makes THE FABELMANS very relevant and relatable. Several scenes are memorable like Sam improving a ‘fake’ scene in his film, Sam meeting Uncle Boris (Judd Hirsch), Mitzi’s dance at the camp, Sam learning the truth about her mother, Sam and his mother’s confrontation and the scene that follows etc. The scene where Sam and Monica pray is hilarious and will bring the house down. The climax is unexpected and abrupt but makes for a nice finale.

On the flipside, the film is a bit too long at 152 minutes. Although it’s not boring, some viewers might complain as it’s not the usual entertainer. A few developments are not properly explained or depicted like Mitzi’s piano shoot for television or what happened after Burt asked Sam to postpone the shoot of his World War II movie for a film on her mother. Lastly, the film has seen a delayed release in India and since it’s a niche kind of film, it won’t have a huge box-office lifetime.

Speaking of performances, Gabriel LaBelle is excellent in the lead part and the way he emotes in the emotional scenes is something to watch out for. Special mention should also go to Mateo Zoryan Francis-DeFord who plays the young Sammy. Michelle Williams is highly memorable and justifiably deserves an Oscar nomination. Paul Dano underplays his part well. Seth Rogen is decent but rocks in the scene where he gifts a camera to Sam. Judd Hirsch steals the show despite being there for less than 10 minutes. Sam Rechner (Logan) is okay but he shines in the prom scene. Chloe East (Monica) is lovely. Oakes Fegley (Chad) and the actors playing siblings are fair.

John Williams’ music is appropriate. Janusz Kamiński’s cinematography is splendid and creative. One of the most memorable shots in the film is that of moving shopping carts during the tornado. Rick Carter’s production design is reminiscent of the bygone era. The same applies to Mark Bridges’ costumes. The action is realistic. VFX is top-notch. Michael Kahn and Sarah Broshar’s editing is fine and unhurried.

On the whole, THE FABELMANS is a touching and entertaining saga by master filmmaker Steven Spielberg. It has seen a delayed release in India, which might affect its box-office performance. At the same time, the Oscar buzz and the fact that it has received seven nominations can compensate for it, but only to some extent.

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