(CNN) — “The Fabelmans” allows Steven Spielberg to turn his coming-of-age memories into what amounts to a super-director origin story, looking back on both his complicated family life and his early love of movies and cinema. It’s a deeply personal chronicle of one of cinema’s greatest talents, producing a film that presents wonderful moments within a somewhat scattered narrative.
The film opens with the young Sammy Fabelman watching his first film, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” in 1952. To say that the experience affected him profoundly would be an understatement, and his thirst to replicate the process, first on a rudimentary level, and later on an ever more elaborate scale, it is almost inextinguishable and fascinating to watch.
However, young Sammy’s formative years go hand-in-hand with his uncomfortable home life, which includes a free-spirited mother (Michelle Williams), who enthusiastically supports his creative impulses, and a literal-minded scientist father (Paul Dano). ) who sees movies as an impractical “hobby,” as he insists on calling it to the boy’s dismay.
The rocky nature of their marriage, and the role of dad’s friend and colleague, Bennie (Seth Rogen, strong in a serious role), only becomes more pronounced and awkward as Sammy enters his high school years, where Gabriel LaBelle He plays it magnificently.
Dad’s job forces the family to move twice, first to Phoenix and then to Northern California, where Sammy must deal with anti-Semitism as well as his budding admission of his mother’s unhappiness.
Not just directing, but sharing script credit with “Angels in America” playwright Tony Kushner (whom he’s collaborated with on “Munich,” where the idea for “The Fabelmans” began to trickle down), “Lincoln,” and most recently , “West Side Story”), Spielberg masterfully conveys the sense of wonder his younger self felt upon discovering movies and seeking to master the craft. Sammy’s impatience with school puzzled his father, but he found channels of support, including a well-timed visit from his grandmother’s colorful brother (Judd Hirsch), who had enough show business exposure to recognize the teen’s passion.
As the title would suggest, “The Fabelmans” takes a measure of license with Spielberg’s biography, but the bones are there, complete with his identifiable awkwardness in early relationships. The film also expands on his nearly 50-year association with composer John Williams, who delivers a score that reflects the film’s mix of fantasy and angst.
Despite all that, “The Fabelmans” plods along somewhat episodically, at its best serving as a Valentine’s gift to anyone driven by artistic expression, and in weaker parts, threatening to get bogged down in familiar melodrama. .
This was the announcement of the nominations for the Oscars 2023
The former happily trumps the latter (and not coincidentally, it’s an irresistible sweet treat for award voters, as was the case with “Cinema Paradiso”), but the dynamic somewhat offsets the film’s nostalgic pleasures. Simply put, the anticipated buzz surrounding “The Fabelmans” as an Oscar contender is as much a referendum on this relatively weak year for mainstream movies as it is an endorsement.
Having scaled every mountain Hollywood has to offer, Spielberg has certainly earned the right to enjoy this trip down memory lane, and the fact that the film is being released by Universal — the studio where his experience was forged. professional, directing for television before going to stardom with “Jaws” – puts a proper tie on the whole package.
“The Fabelmans” is not a blockbuster, but it is a window into what made an impact on a director who has given us countless screen memories throughout his storied career. If that’s not enough to take audiences on a trip to the moon, it’s definitely worth the price of a theater ticket.
Source: CNN Espanol