The Fabelmans – Toronto 2022 – Solzy at the Movies

Posted By on September 11, 2022

In bringing The Fabelmans to Toronto, Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg unveiled yet another masterpiece in cinema.

Steven Spielberg has always had a way with the camera but what this film does is show audiences just how this love of filmmaking came to be. If youve watched Spielberg on HBO or read Joseph McBrides book, youre already at an advantage. Its why none of the film came to me as a surprise because I was already familiar with what he went through during his childhood.

We go from Spielberg beginning to fall in love with film upon being mesmerized by Cecil B. DeMilles The Greatest Show on Earth in 1952 to the events that would shape his future in filmmaking as we know it: the moves to both Arizona and Northern California. As we grow older, we see Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) becoming a blossoming filmmaker during his high school years. The joy in watching thisaside from Spielberg bring back his parents by way of Burt (Paul Dano) and Mitzi Fabelman (Michelle Williams)is getting to watch Spielberg not only direct the film hes making for the audience but the many films within the film that he shot as a child. Its so much fun getting to see a glimpse of the filmmakers childhood while hes behind the camera. One can only assume that longtime film editor Michael Kahn is on double-duty here.

The film isnt without its sad moments. Anybody familiar with Spielbergs work already knows that the broken family theme is one that repeatedly shows up throughout the course of the film. Its a theme thats front and center during the film. It is not an understatement to say just how much the divorce impacted him and film audiences in the years to come. Broken family issues notwithstanding, Judaism is up front and center during the film. If youre Jewish, youre bound to get some big laughs during some of the moments here. I know that I certainly had to restrain my laughter more than a few times. If youve ever been Jewish in December, you should know what I mean!

Speaking of Judaism, the film does not shy away from antisemitism. The antisemitism that Spielberg dealt with as a child is what lessened his observance during his adolescence. Its not easy to watch on screenhes called the K word and hes bullied for being a Jew. And yet, in making the Ditch Day 1964 film, Spielbergs Fabelman comes out on top. But anyway, making Schindlers Listis what brought him closer to Judaism than ever before. Schindlers will forever be his greatest legacy because it lead to the USC Shoah Foundation and getting Holocaust survivors to go on record in telling their stories.

Judd Hirsch isnt in the film for long but he turns in one of the best supporting performances this year as Sammys great-uncle, Boris, on his mothers side. Michelle Williams also shines in her performance as Mitzi. And yes, she joins the list of non-Jewish actresses starring as Jewish women on camera. While I firmly believe that Jewish actors need to be given more opportunities to play Jews on screen, Steven Spielberg has more than earned the right to do what he wants in telling his story. Seth Rogen portrays Bennie Loewy, who is Burts best friend and an uncle figure to Sammy. Of course, the big breakout star of the film is Gabriel LaBelle as the teenage Spielberg. Hes certainly going places.

The downside of this film is that it marks the end of an era for Spielberg and the legendary John Williams. Spielberg was definitive during the press conference when he said that he was not retiring. However, Williams is retiring from film composing with Indiana Jones 5 in summer 2023. The duo have had a long relationship dating back to The Sugarland Express in 1974. Take in every bit of the score because after 29 films, there will never be another Williams score for a Spielberg-directed film. Its been a pleasure getting to watch their collaborations over the years.

Outside of Toronto, audiences wont get to see Spielbergs first-ever festival film until November. First up is closing night of AFI Fest on November 6. This will be followed by the films limited theatrical release on November 11 before going wide on November 23. Listen, I know that some readers will wait for the film to hit Peacock but I highly recommend seeing this on the biggest screen possible. I dont know about you but I know what Im doing over Thanksgiving weekend!

The Fabelmans is one of the finest Steven Spielberg films and it lands the upper tier of his filmography. This is the sort of movie that the Oscars tend to love. Going into TIFF, this was my most anticipated film along with Glass Onion. Currently, its my #1 film of the year. Much like Kenneth Branaghs Belfast in 2021, this is a film that Steven Spielberg could only make after his parents died. Hes been wanting to make it since 1999 but the wait was worth it. Spielberg dedicates the film in memory of his father, Arnold, who died in August 2020.

DIRECTOR: Steven SpielbergSCREENWRITERS: Steven Spielberg & Tony KushnerCAST: Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Gabriel LaBelle, Jeannie Berlin, Julia Butters, Robin Bartlett, Keeley Karsten, and Judd Hirsch

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The Fabelmans - Toronto 2022 - Solzy at the Movies

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