The Fabelmans Is a Spielberg Movie Like No Other

'Like life, it is hilarious at times, and pitifully sad at others'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2022 12:17 PM CST

In his long career, Steven Spielberg has taken audiences to many places and times, in movies from Jaws to Jurassic Park, E.T, Saving Private Ryan, and dozens more. Now, in The Fabelmans, the 75-year-old director is taking them somewhere new: The life of Steven Spielberg. The semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film is getting a lot of very positive reviews and currently has a 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Newcomer Gabriel LaBelle stars as budding moviemaker Sammy Fabelman. His parents are played by Michelle Williams and Paul Dano. What critics are saying:

  • Matt Singer, ScreenCrush: As Sammy's interest in film grows while his parents' marriage falls apart, Spielberg shows their lives with "warmth and clarity," Singer writes. "I hope Spielberg makes 20 more movies," he writes. "But if this is the last one he ever directed, it would be the perfect career capper: An origin story, a thesis statement, a love letter, and a cautionary tale. Like life, it is hilarious at times, and pitifully sad at others."

  • Peter Travers, ABC: This is a "personal best" from Spielberg and the "incandescent" Williams "provides the film's emotional center in a captivating, career-best performance," Travers writes. He also praises the "award-caliber score from John Williams who, at 90, just divulged he's quitting film composing."
  • Benjamin Lee, the Guardian: Lee calls The Fabelmans a "sweet, at times incredibly endearing" trip down memory lane. Spielberg is, however, giving us a "slightly too stage-managed version of himself and his family," Lee writes. "The trauma of depression, bullying, antisemitism, divorce, and infidelity never seems that traumatic here, made to look like they’re all part of a crisp, handsome postcard set by cinematographer Janusz Kaminski."
  • Brian Lowry, CNN: Lowry describes the movie as Spielberg's "super-director origin story, recalling both his complicated family life and early love of movies and filmmaking." It "bumps along somewhat episodically, at its best serving as a valentine to anyone driven to artistic expression, and in weaker portions, threatening to bog down in family melodrama," Lowry writes. "The former happily overcomes the latter—and not incidentally, should be catnip to award voters."
(More Steven Spielberg stories.)

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