The Fabelmans Movie Review

It is always fascinating (at least from my perspective) to learn how and why an artist got started.

The new film, The Fabelmans, is the semi-autobiographical story of Steven Spielberg‘s early years. Co-written by Tony Kushner ( who also co-wrote West Side Story), the tale starts in 1952 in New Jersey. Sammy Fabelman (Mateo Zoryan) is going to the movies with his parents Mitzi (Michelle Williams) and Burt (Paul Dano).

The Greatest Show on Earth will change Sammy’s life. As the movie shifts in time, an older Sammy (Gabrielle LaBelle) wants to make a career as a filmmaker. While his artist mother encourages him, his scientist father would prefer that his son take another path in life. When his Uncle Boris (Judd Hirsh) comes for a short visit, he also supports Sammy’s dream.

Life becomes more complicated by two moves: the first to Arizona and the second to Northern California. By the time the family settles in California, Sammy is dealing with more complications: the end of his parent’s marriage and the blunt antisemitism he is experiencing in school. Mitzi and his father’s best friend Benny (Seth Rogen) have become more than friends, adding additional pressure to everything that Sammy is going through.

Michelle Williams is going to get at the very least, an Oscar nomination for her role. I felt for her, as both a woman and an artist. As much as she loved her husband and her children, it is obvious that she had a gift for music.

Clocking in at 2 hours and 30 minutes, it goes pretty fast. But even with that pace, some scenes could have been left on the cutting room floor. That being said, it is a love letter to movies and the families we love, foibles and all.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Fabelmans is presently in theaters.

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Sanditon Character Review: Lady Denham

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the book and the television show Sanditon. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In a society in which rank and wealth rule, the belief by some in the upper classes is that their advantage also gives them the right to be a know it all. Whether or not others have this same perception depends on the individual. In Sanditon, Lady Denham (Anne Reid) is the town’s queen bee.

She is a woman of a certain age who has been widowed twice. As a result, her fortune is substantial. Lady Denham hangs her fortune over her neighbors and family like an anvil, threatening to take it away when she is displeased.

The largest investor in the town’s growth, she is not one to idly sit by and trust that her money is being put to good use. When Tom Parker‘s (Kris Marshall) plans are met with a few speed bumps, she is quick to threaten the withdrawal of her funds.

When it comes to marriage, she believes that it is a business arrangement and not based on love. She married both of her late husbands for their bank accounts. While one of her nieces, Esther Denham (Charlotte Spencer) marries Lord Babington for love (Mark Stanley) and becomes a wealthy woman in the process, her other relations are not so lucky.

Sir Edward Denham (Jack Fox) tries to court heiress Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke) as per his aunt’s wishes, but it does not go well. When he and Clara Brereton (Lily Sacofsky) scheme to find a copy of her will while she is ill, they are found and disinherited. They also get pregnant and ultimately walk away from their son, giving him to Esther to raise.

In an interesting twist, Lady Denham seems to semi-understand that Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) has a different opinion when it comes to matrimony. Though she completely disagrees with Charlotte, she gets to the point at which she gives up. That, however, does make up for the racist questions directed at Georgiana.

To sum it up: Though Lady Denham is similar to other Austen villains who are wealthy and titled, she does show a streak of humanity every now and then. In doing so, she proves that she can be more than the dragon lady who lords over everyone.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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