Day Five: The Fabelmans (March of the Movies 2023)

Not going to be a terribly long post today. Rather, it’ll be quite short, as will tomorrow’s subject. They show relatively late in the day (for me) and do not leave me with a lot of time to write before I become very tired. Such is the life of someone with an early-bird sleep schedule.

Anyway, The Fabelmans isn’t that good.

Copy-Paste Synopsis

“A coming-of-age story about a young man’s discovery of a shattering family secret and an exploration of the power of movies to help us see the truth about each other and ourselves.”


Actual Short Write-Up

This is one of those situations where a film feels more like “Oscar-bait.” Not to discredit all that went into the making of this film, which there was clearly a lot of passion behind. Yet it is from the spoon of one of the most lucrative directors of all time telling a personal story about his life. Especially considering the dramatic moments and downcast underdog story, it’s just… formulaic is one word.

A thin layer of dullness covers many of the early sections of this film. Most of the characters seem more like “characters” than “people”—even some of those same names remain “characters” by the end. Much is set up and the central motivation of filmmaking takes precedent over much of the plot from the beginning. In fact, the way it treats the central character’s passion for film like a genuine romance. So much so that he has an obligatory break-up period before eventually settling back in by the end.

Kind of like a lot of Spielberg films that I’ve seen, most of this seems to paint with very broad strokes. Much is made of the spectacle, the pizzazz of the visual form, not leaving a whole lot of subtlety or uniqueness in its light. Personal preference certainly plays a part in my dissection of this, what with my hipster tendencies of desiring ambiguity and clever dialogue, so I may just be the wrong audience for this.

One critic I trust called this “really masturbatory.” It is to an extent. More than that, though, it follows a very straightforward line and doesn’t do a whole lot of curving. Perhaps “safe” would be a good description. This is a very “safe” personal journey film, just as it is a “safe” Best Picture nomination. A movie about making movies, and the origin behind one who would eventually become… fabled.


It’s all right. Not one I would personally recommend for Best Picture (even more than others), but it has some worth if you’re fond of these sorts of personal tales. T’was easy to get immersed in once things began to unwind near the end, though by that point it was too little, too late. And the ending? Yeesh…

Final Score: 6/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

If reading this compelled you to give me a dollar, feel free to tip me on Ko-fi.

Thank you for your time. Have a great rest of your day.

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