I went to "The Showroom" this afternoon to watch "The Fabelmans". I had been looking forward to seeing this film ever since I heard Steven Spielberg talking about it on BBC Radio 4. You probably know that it is semi-autobiographical, by implication exploring Spielberg's childhood and how he got into making films.
Representing Spielberg's younger self - Sammy Fabelman is played by Gabriel LaBelle who seemed very well cast. Physically, you could imagine him growing up to be Spielberg's doppelganger. His mother Mitzi is played by Michelle Williams and his father Burt by Paul Dano. Superficially, it is a happy marriage but something is missing and in a revelatory moment while editing the film footage of a family camping trip, Sammy sees what is wrong.
With background music by John Williams, the entire film has a beautiful and carefully considered look about it. There's something of The American Dream there - the ease and comfort of post-war suburban living with shiny gas guzzling cars and enormous fridges. The only way is up though being Jewish Sammy suffers in high school in the same way that Steven Spielberg himself had to contend with anti-Semitic bullying.
It is a gently nostalgic film that elicits tears as well as moments of unbridled laughter. There are some lovely cameos involving Chloe East as Sammy's high school sweetheart Monica , Judd Hirsch as his fearsome granduncle Boris Podogmy and even the film director David Lynch as another legendary director - John Ford. At the end of the film, after getting his cigar fired up, Ford says to Sammy, "When the horizon is on the bottom, it’s interesting. When the horizon is on top, it’s interesting. When the horizon is in the middle, it’s boring as shit!"
Steven Spielberg has entertained countless human beings with a wide range of films - my favourite being "Schindler's List". What a life he has lived! He was born to be a film maker and is surely in my generation one of the indisputable good guys. He had the idea for "The Fabelmans" long ago but could only start to bring it to fruition once both of his parents were deceased.
It contains many subtle nods to Hollywood history. I am sure that a genuine film buff would have spotted far more of those moments than I did. It's not the only reason I would happily watch "The Fabelmans" again. Quite lovely and life affirming.
Another movie that I want to see. I watched "The Onion" last week, I think, quite enjoyed it, more that I thought I would.ReplyDelete
With all films our appreciation can be greatly affected by the frame of mind we are in when we sit down.Delete
I liked Schindler's list but I didn't know or forgot that Steven Spielberg was involved.ReplyDelete
Yes - he directed it and brought it to life Red.Delete
You are the second person to recommend this film; I would like to see it if I can find it showing anywhere.ReplyDelete
It is as effectively constructed as one would expect from a director with such a wealth of experience and such passion for cinema.Delete
Thank you for this review - informative without giving away too much. Now I want to see that film. Maybe I'll find it on Netflix or AppleTV. (I don't want to watch it in German in a crowded cinema.)ReplyDelete
At my afternoon viewing there were only around twenty five people in attendance. I like it that way - a whole row of seats to myself.Delete
Interesting and I would not have chosen to see the film without your recommendation, which has been fine in the past. I am not normally so keen on US films post the 1980s but I may make an exception in this case.ReplyDelete
I hope you like it. It has a light touch, not over-sentimental.Delete
Probably isn't something I'd want to watch.ReplyDelete
So be it.Delete
I should go see that oneReplyDelete
I believe it is worth seeing on a big screen.Delete
I recently saw a documentary on Spielberg which was quite interesting. He sort of avoided the Jewish part of his life, though faced it head om in Schindler's List, and that opened him up to telling his story. It was interesting to hear him talk about how certain parts of his other films were taken from his life and family and parents.ReplyDelete
In times of self-recrimination, America should be proud of Steven Spielberg. A genius with a good heart.Delete
This one is definitely on my radar and my Netflix queue. I've heard several interviews of Spielberg about it and I'm sure it will reap lots of awards.ReplyDelete
It's not an earth-shattering film. It's gentle and skilfully crafted. Nobody is murdered and there are no real guns.Delete
*Schindler's List/ I Didn't Do Enough.*ReplyDelete
YouTube. Universal Pictures.
Sceptics said only Spielberg could have made a feel-good movie about the Holocaust.
The above scene struck a false note with some; the musical score teetered on cliche.
David Mamet's Negative View of Schindler's List. reddit.
Is Schindler's List Fatally Flawed ? Jewish Chronicle.
Liel Leibovitz compared it unfavourably to Claude Lanzmann's documentary about the Shoah and the film by Marcel Ophuls.
*Terry Gilliam criticizes Schindler's List.* YouTube.ReplyDelete
Gilliam favours the complexity of Kubrick over Spielberg's comfort movies.
Kubrick did not admire Schindler's List.
Well that's as maybe. In my opinion these people you mention were wrong. As a general and pretty discerning cinema goer I have watched and appreciated countless films over the years and "Schindler's List" was one of the best. To call it a "feel good movie about the Holocaust" is a disgraceful judgement made by grumbling dwarfs.Delete
No one would dream of questioning your discernment, Neil.Delete
7 Oscars & a record box-office cash flow drown out the grumbling dwarves.
*A Dissent on Schindler's List & rdqu.*
Philip Gourevitch. Commentary.
Claude Lanzmann director of Shoah (1985) the nine-hour documentary called Schindler's List *kitschy melodrama* and a *deformation* of the truth.Delete
Jean-Luc Godard and Stanley Kubrick had reservations too.
My mother and father were haunted by the film like you, and the image of the little girl in the red coat remained in their minds permanently.
Like many commercial films it left me unsure of what I thought and I do not know what I think about it till this day.
So much that we see on the large and small screen is a product of the entertainments industry.
In creating "Schindler's List", Steven Spielberg was not setting out to make a documentary. It was meant to educate, to honour, to entertain and to get bums on seats - such a hard balance to strike. He did it brilliantly - no matter what those whingers had to say about it. The salt tears that ran down my cheeks were real. **** Jean-Luc Godard and Stanley Kubrick! ****s!Delete
*Sidney Lumet interviewed Making Movies (1995).*Delete
YouTube. Manufacturing Intellect.
*Omnibus - Sidney Lumet.* YouTube.
Lumet's book *Making Movies* is available in paperback.
*Journey to Italy* (1954) Full Movie. YouTube.
Roberto Rossellini's classic film w/ Ingrid Bergman & George Sanders.
Imagine being so lucky to become a filmmaker instead of blog writers like ourselves.ReplyDelete
He really has lived his dream.Delete
How could you have overlooked Firelight?ReplyDelete
I must confess that I have never seen that film Bruce. Thanks for the heads up.Delete
You may never. It was his first film shot when he was 17 and shown only once, I believe. It cost $500 to make and netted him only $1.Delete
I like Spielberg, though I think he is seen by many critics as cinematic comfort food -- his movies carefully engineered for maximum emotional effect and easy palatability. His formula usually works for me, even as I'm aware I'm being manipulated!ReplyDelete
Watching the trailer of The Ablemans on YouTube, I saved these gems of deep wisdom :Delete
*Movies are dreams that you never forget.*
*You do what your heart says you have to.*
Watch *The Day of the Locust* the 1975 film of Nathaniel West's dark masterpiece - the hell inside Hollywood's heaven.
Talk about the dirty business of dreams ...
* Just do do what your heart says you have to, son ! *