Is “The Fabelmans” Worthy of the Best Picture Award?

Is The Fabelmans Worthy of the Best Picture Award?

Daniel Campos, Correspondent

The Fabelmans, the latest film from legendary American director, Steven Spielberg, recently hit theaters. The film is about Sam Fabelman, played by Gabriel LaBelle, a Jewish boy who loves filmmaking and whose father, played by Paul Dano, works for General Electric. The character Sam is based on Spielberg himself. Because of his father’s job, he has to move four different times, and it makes his life very difficult. While going through footage to make a film for his mother, he finds something in the background of multiple reels, which could tear his seemingly perfect family apart.

The acting was strong overall with the exception of Dano, who delivered the weakest performance as Sam’s father. His performance fell flat as he struggled to separate himself from his traditional villainous character type, even though the film required it. Labelle, on the other hand, had a solid performance, although I think he could have shown more emotion. The strongest performance came from Michelle Williams, who plays Sam’s mother. She was extremely expressive during all of her character’s highest and lowest moments and played the character exceptionally convincingly. There is also a cameo from another legendary director David Lynch, who plays a director who is, in the film, considered to be the greatest of all time. His role was humorous and a nice addition to the film. Other strong performances are those of Julia Butters and Judd Hirsch.

The cinematography was excellent, and on par with some of Spielberg’s previous films. Interestingly, the short films made inside of the film were actually rather well-shot. The best shots are those where you can see Sam filming, as they really immerse you into the world of directing. The score from John Williams, however, is fairly forgettable and far from his best.

This film is currently a favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Does it deserve to win, or even be nominated? I don’t think it deserves either. While on a technical level it is well made, I didn’t feel the story was very strong. My biggest issue with the film is how little it actually focuses on filmmaking. While there are some amazing scenes that have to do with love for cinema, it really feels like that was just to draw interest to the film’s actual story, which has little to do with movies. It was reminiscent of Cinema Paradiso, another film that claims to be about the love of movies and seems promising at first but ditches the idea in favor of being a lackluster romance drama. While I hardly resonated with the story or any of the characters, and nearly fell asleep at times, I think if you go in expecting what it actually is, an emotional coming-of-age and family drama, you will likely enjoy it. If those types of films don’t pique your interest, then I would recommend you steer clear of The Fabelmans.