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Recommended age 12-18
151 minutes
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FABELMANS, THE cover image Click to play video trailer
The Fabelmans is a touching and mesmerizing film that celebrates the acclaimed director Steven Spielberg while recounting his origins as a filmmaker. The film provides an absolutely emotional experience--it's mainly about the vicissitudes of family interaction while paying homage to cinema.

As a kid, Sam Fabelman learns an important lesson from his father, one of the basic principles of filmmaking: retinal persistence. Like magic, films are a simple succession of still images, which give the illusion of movement. When Sammy attends his first movie projection, the event turns into a life-changing experience. The story follows his life while he discovers his passion for movie-making supported by his family: his dad Burt (Paul Dano), his mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams), his three sisters, and his uncle Ben (Seth Rogen). His father is an electrical engineer, his mother a concept piano player--and this fusion of technicality with art certainly shaped his craft. The family's dynamic is beautiful yet cloudy at times; a source material turned into melodrama, perfect for great storytelling.

I love the humanity that The Fabelmans displays. And I loved the way the film shows and captures Sam's life overall, in the sense that it doesn't just feel like you are watching a story. As the audience I can really understand and feel the emotions Sam is feeling. Characters are the core of the storyline and the relationships between them. Despite that the Fabelmans are not a perfect family, they stand out in their unity and the bond between them. The relationship between Sam and his mom, masterfully performed by Michelle Williams, is mesmerizing to watch. There's a complicity that is put to the test, generating wonderful conflict. Williams' scenes are like study material for an actor. And yet every cast member is great at their craft in this film. The camera moves fluidly from the family dinners, to the action scenes contained in Sam's early films, through the corners of the houses where the family moved and the places that hide the deepest family secrets. Janusz Kaminski's photography brings the era alive visually and has the perfect warmth, and the score of John Williams stays in our hearts. The Fabelmans deserves Oscar nominations.

My favorite scenes are Sam experimenting and reproducing the train crash he watched in his first movie experience and Mitzi watching herself in her son's family movie. My favorite quote: "Guilt is a waste of an emotion" which I consider profoundly meaningful in terms of what this movie is telling its audience. The message of the film is to be able to find balance in adversity. Families are not perfect, but true bond should prevail. The Fabelmans is rated PG-13 due to mature thematic elements and brief violence and drug use.

I give The Fabelmans 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for audiences 13 to 18, plus adults. The Fabelmans opens in theaters November 23, 2022.

By Zo� C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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The Fabelmans is a 2022 American coming-of-age drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and written and produced by Tony Kushner and Spielberg. It is a semi-autobiographical story loosely based on Spielberg's adolescence and first years as a director, told through an original story of the fictional Sammy Fabelman, a young aspiring filmmaker who explores how the power of films can help him see the truth about his dysfunctional family and those around him. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy, with Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Judd Hirsch in supporting roles. It is dedicated to the memories of Spielberg's real-life parents Arnold Spielberg and Leah Adler.
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