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TIFF 2022 Review – The Fabelmans – “An interesting journey”

Despite the family turmoil that culminates into a divorce, a young aspiring filmmaker emerges named Sammy Fabelman, otherwise known as Steven Spielberg.

As a child, Sammy Fabelman had to be persuaded by his parents to go to the movie theatre and subsequently spent his teenage years trying to convince his father that being a filmmaker was not a hobby but a career calling; in the midst of this, his mother has fallen in love with the best friend of his father which leads to a divorce that has a profound effect upon him.

Check out all of our TIFF coverageThere is a fable quality to the movie as Steven Spielberg offers a revisionist look at his adolescent and teenage age years which were shaped by an obsession to become a filmmaker and the legal separation of his parents.  No doubt that Michelle Williams will get an Oscar nomination as the eccentric matriarch who serves as a warning for not following through with your passions; however, in truth, the real award-worthy role belongs to Judd Hirsch as the larger-than-life and feared uncle as he actually feels authentically earnest in his performance.

Getting to see the imaginative short films created by Sammy is where The Fabelmans shows a spark of life, while the spinning camera when he discovers where his mother’s true affections belong is too theatrical.  For those familiar with the personal history of Spielberg this will be an interesting journey on how the legendary Hollywood director developed a passion for making movies.  However, just as Barry Levinson with his semi-autobiographical Liberty Heights, what is enjoyable at first will not hold up upon repeat viewings.  This is a lightweight contribution that will not take away from a storied oeuvre but nor will it further the legend.

The 47th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 8-18, 2022, and for more information visit    

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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