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.