The Fabelmans: Spielberg Takes On Boyhood

Written by Luke Barnes


A semi-autobiographical take on the early years of Steven Spielberg told through a fictional family.

This film had a long way to go to shake off both the idea of it being blatant awards bait, in the insufferable smugness that conjures up, and also the notion of it being a director indulging in a vanity project and I think to a degree it does manage to shake off both of those labels, but not completely.

I found the coming of age angle to be quite effective, I was heavily invested in Sammy’s, played by Gabrielle LaBelle, journey into filmmaking an also adulthood and thought that the whole plot line was anchored by incredibly strong turns from Michelle Williams and Paul Dano. Even Seth Rogen brings his A game in a muted supporting role, which makes a nice change.

My big question for the film and in it my wider criticism is how is this film any different from the million other coming of age films out there? Yes it is somewhat of an origin story for Spielberg, but other than that this is incredibly by the numbers and doesn’t have anything to set it apart. The story as a whole is riddled with cliches and overly familiar plot beats, yes to a degree if this film is trying to be true to life than things were unchangeable but if it isn’t, if it is tenuous, then this needed to be changed as what we get feels like a rehash.

Overall, a compelling coming of age story with good performances, but an over-reliance on worn out cliches holds it back.



Strong performances across the board

You care about Sammy’s journey into filmmaking

The David Lynch cameo was nice


It feels familiar

It has heavy pacing issues

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