By Katie Sterling
How do you take the breadth of someone’s passion and fit it into a film to showcase how they’ve become the person they are today?
If you’re Steven Spielberg, you do a damn good job of it.
After all, you only become the greatest filmmaker of all time thanks to that initial spark of curiosity which ignites a flame. A flame that has only gotten bigger and brighter over the decades. There’s no question that Hollywood loves an origin story, and with his latest project, Spielberg tackles a subject perhaps far more harrowing than dinosaurs or extraterrestrials… his own life story.
In The Fabelmans, a young Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) is introduced to the world of moving pictures when his parents take him to see The Greatest Show on Earth. Awed, and a little frightened, Sammy attempts to recreate the infamous train crash at home in an effort to make sense of the scene. With that spark, a passion is ignited and well, the rest is history…
But truly, it wouldn’t be a Spielberg film without the saga! Like any good story, Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical tale is immersed with heroes and villains, the lines consistently blurring on where the individuals in his story should fall.
It’s only through the lens of his camera does Sammy find some kind of clarity. It’s not always an easy answer, but it is a way to deal with the troubles of the world in a manner most comfortable to him.
While the coming-of-age drama is a slow burn, it is fueled by fantastic performances from each member of the cast. While newcomer LaBelle shines, it’s the scenes he shares with his mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams) that showcase how brilliantly Spielberg evokes emotions from his direction. If anyone should be anticipating award buzz, Williams gives a heart wrenching performance of a mother, and wife, torn between her family and her passion.
It’s an autobiographical peek into an acclaimed director, but at its heart is a love story to moviemaking. With a score by Spielberg’s right-hand man John Williams, it’s also artfully orchestrated, sweeping you into the scenes directed by both Spielberg and Sammy. You’ll find yourself traversing through every emotion on the spectrum and with the film’s final shot you’ll understand, that, that’s why Spielberg is the renowned director he is. You’ll walk away with a smile on your face, and like Sammy, be grateful for the wonderful world of cinema.
In theatres and streaming on Amazon prime.