Fabelman Review

Lights, Camera, Action with Steven Spielberg’s Newest Blockbuster


Universal Pictures

One-Sheet for Spielberg’s ‘The Fabelmans’

Released on November 11, 2022, the blockbuster king and master storyteller Steven Spielberg presented to the world of cinema, The Fabelmans. A movie about a young man named Samuel “Sammy” Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) whose life and fascination with film mirrors Spielberg’s time growing up in post-war America while trying to find his place in a world full of chaos. After almost 50 years of working in the film industry, creating accounts of a daring archeologist’s mission to find lost treasure, a shark bringing havoc upon a small town, or a young boy’s journey with a newly discovered extraterrestrial, Steven Spielberg has truly made his mark on the world of cinema. At 76 years old, he has finally created a film reflecting his own story.


The coming-of-age story addresses the fear of fitting in, the reality of religion in America, the love for directing, and the truth behind his parents’ relationship. Since Sammy first saw The Greatest Show on Earth, he became captivated by the filming process. Sammy creates his own films with his highly supportive family across the many houses he moves to with his family and friends starring in each film. As Sammy grows up, his once slight fascination with film turns into the making of a new career. Sammy faces many challenges as he matures and slowly realizes the truth about his parents’ complex relationship. Sammy’s mother and father, played by Paul Dano and Michelle Williams, both deliver awe-inspiring renditions of Steven Spielberg’s parents bringing the audience closer to the screen.


Steven Spielberg speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. (Gabe Skidmore)

The Fabelmans not only delivered in its storytelling but presented itself in a much stronger way. While the film wasn’t fully mirroring Steven Spielberg’s chaotic life, one thing stands taller and goes beyond the screen, the topic of antisemitism. While Steven Spielberg has addressed this issue in his massively successful Schindler’s List, Munich, and Saving Private Ryan, he explains through the New York Times that experiencing Jewish hate was just part of growing up. “I didn’t experience antisemitism growing up in Arizona, but I had a major experience with it completing high school in Northern California” says Spielberg. The topic of Jewish hate in the film is genuinely emotional and gut-wrenching and knowing the famous director experienced it himself is why it speaks louder than just the film. As seen in the movie, Sammy not only experiences antisemitism but also bullying throughout high school while living in Northern California. With Sammy’s significant differences in culture and religion, there was a clear target on his back, and he stood out in the crowd, making it difficult for him to have a typical social life. “I was basically weaponizing my social life with a camera to curry favor with these athletic, popular kids who eventually all wanted to be in my movies,” said Steven Spielberg from the New York Times.


From the cinematography to the masterful storytelling, The Fabelmans truly shines a light not only on the life of Steven Spielberg but also on what made him who he is today. Most importantly, Gabriel LaBelle did a brilliant job of playing the famous director, and the audience and I were as easily amazed at the man Sammy Fabelman had become as we were immersed into the backstory of his cinema passion. The Fabelmans has a clear shot at winning big at The Oscars, with a whopping 7 nominations including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Score, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Production Design. Nevertheless, the film has grossed over 20.5 million dollars at the box office and it has not only been nominated for two Golden Globes, for Best Director and the Best Motion Picture-Drama but has won both. Regardless of its success, it is one story that can easily fascinate younger and older audiences with the art of film. This movie masterpiece may inspire a new Sammy Fabelman.