purkka’s review published on Letterboxd:
the fabelmans trailer: wooow! movies are so cool! :)
the fabelmans: steven spielberg is traumatized
Extraordinarily well directed, simultaneously unflashy & unpretentious and striking to look at, and steady in its balance of humor and drama. The kind of movie you can complement by calling it self-indulgent, melodramatic, and unsubtle to the core; all of that is earned.
That being said, it's not flawless. Regardless of how autobiographical it actually is, the movie does go through a lot of biopic-y motions, not always able to weave its subplots and arcs coherently together. There are like 4 endings, for instance, and with its kind of clunky structure (not using the changes of setting and timeskips as opportunities for clear act breaks) it feels like a long movie in a way that is at odds with the breezy direction.
None of it is unengaging to watch, to be clear, but there's something unelegant about its plotting that a wholly fictional story would probably have tried to avoid. In the end, I guess what helps a lot is that to me, it doesn't feel like there's a distinct good part – the best bits are spread throughout. I imagine how well it works for each viewer has a lot to do with how much the specific cultural nostalgia and childhood experiences resonate. It certainly is one of the most divorcepunk movies of all time.
Anyway, very good. Teen Sammy Fabelman could outdirect every superhero movie made in the last 5 years.