The Fabelmans


Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, young Sammy Fabelman aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.

Tagline: Capture every moment.

Genres: Drama


Official Website:
Language:  English, Portuguese
Release Date:  11 November 2022

Box Office

Budget:  $40,000,000
Revenue:  $45,629,909

Company Credits

Production Companies:  Amblin Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment

Technical Specs

Runtime:  2 h 31 min

The Fabelmans: A “Roaring Standing Ovation” for Steven Spielberg’s Directorial at TIFF


The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Saturday saw a thunderous standing ovation for Steven Spielberg’s multiple Oscar-winning film “The Fabelmans.” The audience enthusiastically applauded the producer-director, who was making his first appearance at the event, according to “Variety.”

As the credits rolled, a visibly moved Spielberg added, “I’m really glad we came to Toronto.” The filmmaker claimed that the Covid pandemic served as inspiration for his most intimate tale to yet, which examines his early attempts at filmmaking, his upbringing in Arizona and Northern California, and the breakup of his family.

“As things worsened, I felt that the thing about my parents that I really needed to unpack and resolve was the thing that I was going to leave behind,” Steven Spielberg remarked.

At TIFF, Steven Spielberg told the audience that “The Fabelmans” would not be his final film, even though he had come to terms with his history. He clarified, “This isn’t because this is my swan song and I’m going to retire.” “None of that is real.”

The opening of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” starring Daniel Craig, had spilled over into the commencement of “The Fabelmans,” thus it was a minor miracle that the show began approximately fifteen minutes later than scheduled.

Image from the movie "The Fabelmans"
© 2022 Amblin Entertainment − All right reserved.


Jewish parents Mitzi and Burt Fabelman take their little son Sammy to watch his first movie, The Greatest Show on Earth, on a January night in Haddon Township, New Jersey in 1952. Sammy requests a model set for Hanukkah after being mesmerized by a rail scene, which he wrecks late one evening.

Knowing Sammy’s plans, Mitzi lets him use Burt’s 8mm camera to record another crash scene. Sammy starts doing frequent films, sometimes with his sisters in tow. Early in 1957, Burt and his family move to Phoenix, Arizona, after he receives a new employment offer. Burt’s business partner and best buddy Bennie Loewy leaves as well, on Mitzi’s demand.

Image from the movie "The Fabelmans"
© 2022 Amblin Entertainment − All right reserved.

Years later, Sammy, then a teenager, joins his Boy Scout companions to make films, learns how to use post-production effects, and receives a badge in photography. Later, Bennie and Sammy go camping with the Fabelman family while Sammy records video of their adventure.

Mitzi’s mother passes away soon after, leaving her inconsolable. Burt offers Sammy video editing equipment and proposes he use the vacation footage to make a movie to lift Mitzi’s spirits. Burt, who considers Sammy’s love of movies to be only a pastime, counters that the home movie is more significant than Sammy’s objections over the release date of his next picture. The Fabelmans get an unexpected visit the following morning from Mitzi’s uncle Boris, a former lion tamer and movie crew member. He tells Sammy that both sides will always be at odds when they talk about how art has compromised his family that night.

Image from the movie "The Fabelmans"
© 2022 Amblin Entertainment − All right reserved.

After Boris departs, Sammy starts editing the holiday video and discovers proof of Mitzi and Bennie’s adultery. After weeks of him mistreating both Mitzi and Bennie, Sammy and Mitzi argue. He yells that he wishes she wasn’t his mother, and she snaps, slapping him across the back. Sammy, distraught, shows her the collected video and swears to keep it a secret.

Burt gets another promotion the next week, which necessitates another relocation to Saratoga, California. Before leaving Phoenix, Bennie gives Sammy a new camera. Until Bennie allows Sammy to pay $35 for it, Sammy declines. Sammy chooses not to utilize the camera even after buying it.

Image from the movie "The Fabelmans"
© 2022 Amblin Entertainment − All right reserved.

Soon after moving to his new neighborhood and school, Sammy is the focus of racist taunts from classmates Logan and Chad. He also starts dating Monica, who is a devoted Christian. She offers that Sammy record their Ditch Day at the beach while they are eating dinner with the Fabelmans. After Monica informs him her father has a 16mm Arriflex camera that he would let him use, Sammy finally agrees to do so.

Following their move from a rented to their own house, Mitzi and Burt declare their divorce as a result of her deep despair and his learning of her affair. The family is upset by this.

Image from the movie "The Fabelmans"
© 2022 Amblin Entertainment − All right reserved.

After high school, Sammy invites Monica to accompany him to Hollywood and proclaims his love for her at prom. She breaks up with him because she is unwilling to give up her own life’s ambitions to attend Texas A&M University.

Sammy’s peers watch the Ditch Day movie, and they react with enthusiastic applause. It denigrates Chad and exalts Logan. They come to an agreement when Logan approaches Sammy, who is taken aback by his favorable portrayal. This agreement is furthered when Logan thwarts Chad’s attempt to harm Sammy. The following morning, Mitzi and Sammy discuss their future together. She encourages Sammy not to give up his love of filmmaking, just as she cannot give up her love for Bennie.

Image from the movie "The Fabelmans"
© 2022 Amblin Entertainment − All right reserved.

Sammy moves in with his father in Hollywood the next year. Despite his desire to leave college, he can’t get a job in cinema. Burt advises Sammy to follow his path if it brings him happiness, but he reluctantly gives in to his son’s devotion. An opportunity to work on Hogan’s Heroes is extended to Sammy.

Co-creator of the show Bernard Fein knows Sammy is more interested in cinema, so he extends an invitation to see one of his biggest idols, director John Ford. Ford gives Sammy some framing advice during their brief encounter, telling him not to frame the horizon in the center of the frame, for example. Sammy strolls across the sunny backlot of the studio, feeling rejuvenated. Following Ford’s recommendation, the camera first frames the horizon in the center of the frame before abruptly tilting up to place it close to the bottom of the frame.


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