The Fabelmans

The Fabelmans ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

A pair of outstanding performances from Michelle Williams and Gabriel LaBelle can’t save this confused, frequently overwritten script. The first half is reasonably engaging as a recap of the director/protagonist’s formative years. But the only storyline that Spielberg has a compass for is his parents’ divorce, specifically his own experience of it. The rest of it, especially what happens when the family moves to California, including just about everything about the director/protagonist’s high school life, is strictly by the numbers—except for the fact that it’s interwoven with extensive speechifying, monologues so meaningful that they seem to lose their sense of meaning altogether. By the end we don’t really even know what lessons Spielberg has drawn from the story he’s recounting. The clearest indication of that is the final scene, where the advice offered is comically simplistic.

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