The Fabelmans Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Review of the film

On January 19, the new film by Steven Spielberg “Fablemen” finally reached Ukrainian cinemas. And he did it already as the winner of the fresh “Golden Globe” in the nominations for the best film (drama) and direction. In this review, we tell you why the film received universal recognition from viewers and critics.

“Fabelmans” / The Fabelmans

Genre autobiographical drama
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Gabrielle LaBelle, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Julia Butters, David Lynch
Premiere cinemas, digital services
Release year 2022
IMDb site

It is a beautiful January evening in 1952 in the yard. A young Jewish couple, Bert and Mitzi Fabelman, take their young son, Sammy, to the cinema for the first time. The frightened boy does not show much desire to visit a spacious, crowded movie theater, but his parents assure him that there is nothing to be afraid of.

As a result, the impressionable Sammy literally gets carried away by the train-car collision scene in Cecil B. De Mille’s The Greatest Show on Earth. Later, and with great effort, he will recreate it on his own toy railway. And let the father grumble something disgruntled about the fact that it is not worth hitting toys, then it is empty. The main thing is that for the first time in his life, Sammy will experience something that he has not experienced before.

Review of the film

Later, the mother would allow her son to take the father’s 8 mm camera to film this scene of the disaster. Then the magical action can be observed at any time without side effects in the form of mutilated toys. This will be the boy’s first cinematic experience. Since that time, he will no longer be able to imagine his life without looking at this world through the lens of a movie camera.

“Fablemen” is an autobiographical film by Steven Spielberg. People who forever changed the film industry and gave the world a huge number of beautiful films. This is definitely the most personal film in the career of the famous director. Here, the viewer has a unique opportunity to look into the childhood and youth of the future legend, and at the same time to better understand Spielberg’s filmography, which is so voluminous and diverse.

Spielberg does not want to seem intrusive and selfish, so he delicately calls his film by another name. In addition, despite trying to tell a deeply personal story, the director does not forget about the viewer. He definitely does not require any sympathy, and, given his rich experience, he makes a very interesting movie, even a little fabulous. Yes, on the one hand, it is permeated with longing for an ancient and beautiful era, nostalgic notes, self-reflection. But on the other hand, it’s just a wonderful and extremely frank retro-drama.

Review of the film

However, the film does not try to burden the viewer with pretentious drama and has a phenomenally subtle sense of humor. This is an amazing journey into the past, which also has a touch of fiction. But it really allows you to look not only at the history of the formation of a great cinematographer, but also at what events will affect his worldview and how it will be reflected in future masterpieces.

Of course, the main role in the life of the young Spielberg/Fabelman was played by the family. Dad was a skilled computer engineer, mom was a housewife who had to give up her career as a pianist and take care of four children. Due to dad’s work and, in particular, an invitation to work at IBM, the family had to move several times.

In California, Sammy had to endure anti-Semitic abuse. And later, the parents decided to separate. All this left quite an impression on the emotional state of the teenager and his sisters. But, once again, Spielberg does not demand empathy from the viewer. In this way, he tries to demonstrate what exactly influenced his already professional, mature cinematography.

Review of the film

It is also interesting to watch how the young hero created his first amateur school films. Together with his boy scout friends, he somehow ends up at a screening of the western “The Man Who Killed Liberty Valance” with John Wayne. And in a moment the boy will start filming his own movie about fights in the Wild West. To make the gunfight scene look more realistic, the guy will resort to amazing ingenuity.

A large number of scenes here take place to the accompaniment of a piano, which adds an appropriate, somewhat lyrical mood with a touch of melancholy. The calm, smooth camera of Janusz Kaminski, the permanent cinematographer of Spielberg’s films, helps to follow the early stage of the prodigy’s life.

Acting performances are also worth mentioning. Special mention should be made of the excellent performances of Gabriel LaBelle and Michelle Williams. The small appearance of 87-year-old Judd Hirsch in the role of one of the Fabelman relatives, who also has connections with the cinema and gives some advice to the main character, looks wonderful. A real celebration will be the cameo of David Lynch, who should be given some kind of award just for lighting a cigar.

Review of the film

It is obvious that “Fablemen” is a story not only about the titular family and about how one boy fell in love with cinema. The tape also tells about growing up, self-acceptance and perception of the surrounding world, youthful dreams. After all, about the magic of cinema.

And, of course, about the willingness to devote oneself to the work of a lifetime. This isn’t just another glitzy, inspiring Hollywood success story. It’s a kind of Steven Spielberg psychotherapy session that’s a real pleasure to witness.

Pros: excellent script and production, fascinating story, outstanding acting, author’s honesty, lack of recorded manipulative drama, excellent cameos of veterans, subtle sense of humor, good recreation of the 60s era Cons: minimal, barely noticeable drag on the story Conclusion:

Steven Spielberg created a movie that he needed and that was exciting for the viewer. The director acted as a screenwriter for the first time in many years, but who can write the story of your life better than yourself (Tony Kushner became the second screenwriter). The result was almost perfect and very skillful work. And also, obviously, a worthy representative of this award season

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