The Fabelmans | Official Trailer [HD]

Then again, as skillful and authoritative as the actors are in their roles, you watch the opening scenes where seven-year-old Sammy stages a miniature train wreck for the camera and realize that they’re the exact same kind of playthings to him—a method since all the way back then to control something that in life he simply cannot. Longtime cinematographer Janusz Kaminski is thankfully still on the muted high of his work from West Side Story, and he mostly lights their lives in naturalistic tones instead of the blown-out, sub-Robert Richardson style he employed in recent years. But from the first frame to the last, this film feels like both the one that Spielberg controlled most closely, and also was in control while making.


There’s a scene in which young Sammy, after being bullied at his new school for being Jewish, valorizes his athletic, popular classmate, Logan (Sam Rechner) in a student film about a senior class trip. The young man should be thrilled—his friends and fellow students justifiably look at him like a hero—but he’s unsettled enough to confront Sammy about it afterwards, almost feeling bad for the hagriographic depiction. Sammy can’t explain why he cut the film that way, but the fact that he turned a triumphant moment into a mirror reflecting Logan’s own insecurities speaks to how Spielberg, and film itself, can capture the essence of a character or a moment, and cut into it further than a critique. The Fabelmans is a nostalgic depiction of his family that unearths pain and discomfort, and a refashioning of real events to extract more profound truths. We should all be so lucky, and fearless, to be able to look at our lives in the same way, but until then Spielberg is thankfully here to do it for us.