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The Fablemans

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The Fablemans


PG-13             151 min


Number four in this issues theme of Variety Magazines Best Picture nomination predictions and number four and this issue that follows the Academy's new woke guidelines. Unlike some of the others this one isn't necessarily drawing attention for its “wokeness” rather a couple other factors. First, Hollywood does love movies about itself and second, well, who doesn't love Steven Spielberg? And sure, there are a lot of Jewish folks in Hollywood. Besides those things I'm not sure the FABLEMANS is worthy of the number one seed in the Best Picture sweepstakes. Don't get me wrong it's certainly enjoyable and the period piece cinematography, which changes era to era, is spot on.  

Gabriel LaBelle is Sammy Fableman just a regular kid in a regular suburban Jewish family who falls in love with the art of movie making as a child. For Hanukkah he receives an 8 mm movie camera and some electric trains and makes his very first film, recreating a train wreck he'd seen at the cinema with the family. His little features delight and amuse the family and friends as each one becomes a bit more sophisticated than the last when his life is turned upside down and pop gets a better job with IBM which means the family is moving to Arizona. Turns out that's not as traumatic as it might have been as he joins the Boy Scouts and uses his Troop as actors in his next film thereby securing a merit badge for the genre. However, dad's next promotion and subsequent move is a bit more troublesome when the family moves to California and a high school populated by white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who don't seem to be particularly fond of Jews. The tension between Sammy and some of the blonde-haired bullies is uncomfortable but never over the top and seems to come to a reasonable conclusion. Some of the other obstacles in the young man's road to adulthood are a bit more uncomfortable and some a bit more humorous. The former being a growing sense of depression in his mother and the latter his first romantic interlude with a born-again hottie who wants to convert him, again neither of which situation really goes over the top. Probably the situation that presents the biggest conflict is when Sammy and his dad come to grips with mom’s neurosis, but even that provides no real histrionics. Eventually Sammy lets his pop know that he hates College and wants to work in the film industry, and since Spielberg says it's semi-autobiographical, we know how that ends up. Anyway, it's pleasant and entertaining even though it's just on the border of being too long.



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