“This movie is a way to bring my mom and dad back” Steven Spielberg told the very grateful Toronto Film Festival crowd on Saturday night. Her mother, Leah, died aged 97 in 2017 and her father, Arnold, died in 2020 aged 103. The Fabelmansthey are represented by michelle williams and Paul Dano respectively – and you should surely do some googling to see how they got the likenesses.
Reaction to Spielberg’s latest would have been thrilled, with TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey finally tell the crowd to stop applauding and sit down so they can start a discussion after the screening.
The Fabelmans is a rarity for Spielberg – a personal story pulled straight from his own childhood. This is her fourth collaboration with the Tony-winning playwright Tony Kushner, and it’s one of the few films in Spielberg’s extensive resume in which he is credited as a co-screenwriter. On Saturday night, he explained that when COVID hit in early 2020, he wondered “what was the one thing I had to figure out and unpack about my mom, dad, and sisters?”
He added that “it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I didn’t really know when I was going to get into it. It’s not because I’m going to retire and it’s my swan song. , I promise. Bullit.)
The film also features Seth Rogen, relative newcomer Gabriel LaBelle as “Sammy” (a stand-in for young Steven), and features short appearances from Judd Hirsch, Jeannie Berlinand, in a part intended to make film historians dizzy, David Lynch. The story centers on a Jewish teenager growing up in a not particularly Jewish part of the United States and slowly coming to terms with his family falling apart, while developing his skills as an amateur filmmaker.
Reviews so far have been overwhelmingly positive. Variety compares it positively to Radio Daysand called the film “a personal account of his upbringing that feels like listening to two and a half hours of well-rehearsed cocktail anecdotes, only better, since he took the trouble to put them all in stage for our benefit.” The New York Post called it the best film of the year and suggested that Michelle Williams had now “skyrocketed[ed] leading the Oscar race with an unforgettable performance.
In a dissent, The Daily Beast reviewer dismissed the film as “a two and a half hour therapy session”.
VFit is Richard Lawson wrote enthusiastically about the project against the backdrop of generations of moviegoers projecting their own lives onto Spielberg’s stories. “[N]ow, finally, Spielberg politely shares something from himself too: a reciprocal response to those decades of conversation that says, This is where it all came from, the final piece of the mosaic.
The first trailer was released on Sunday morning. Incidentally, “spiel” is another word for “story” or even “fable”. Eh ? Eh ?