Flash Movie Review: The Fabelmans
YOU KNOW HOW SOME MEMORIES REMAIN crystal clear in your mind? Well, I have the memory of receiving one special birthday gift back when I was in elementary school. I can see in my mind the gift box; it was black on the bottom half and yellow on the top half. Lifting off the top cover, there nestled in hard plastic was a Kodak Instamatic Camera. I had been using an old camera I found in a junk drawer; first pretending it was a spaceship when I was very young. When I got older, I understood the true nature of this mechanical device. But now, I was getting my very own camera and I could not have been happier. Enclosed with it was a set of three flashcubes. Yes, flashcubes; the most innovative invention of its time that allowed the photographer to take four photo shots in a row before one had to change the flash on top of the camera. I was so excited, I immediately fished out the instruction booklet to study up on my new camera. It did not take long before I fitted a flashcube on top of the camera and started going around the house snapping photos of random items, such as a lamp, ceramic figurine, metronome, candy dish. I even tried taking a photo of myself (I was attempting a selfie even back then!) in the hallway mirror; but, when the film was developed there was only a picture of a big, bright light completely obliterating my entire face. AMONG ALL THE FAMILY MEMBERS, I was known as the unofficial “family photographer.” Despite the moniker, many of my relatives complained when I wanted to take their picture. In my mind, I was a documentarian whose job was to capture every event, every relative on film. Looking back, I can see where family members would be annoyed with me as I would suddenly appear and blind them with my flashcubes. Some would yell at me to stop taking photos, but I kept pushing the limits because I knew I needed multiple shots if I wanted to get that one perfect moment captured on film. My love of photography never waned; it grew deeper. In college, I started developing the film myself along with experimenting with different lenses and filters, since I graduated to a single lens reflex camera. For one of my classes, I created a Martian photo album using infrared film that was awarded an “A” grade. Opportunities opened for me where I had a couple of photos hanging in an art gallery and my biggest thrill, taking photos at music concerts. From my childhood experiences, I totally understood what the young boy in this dramatic film was feeling; it is a deep, wonderful feeling. A FAMILY OUTING TO THE MOVIES, would have a lasting impression on a young boy. It was an impression that both of his parents could not agree upon. With Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn, Venom franchise) as Mitzi Fabelman, Gabriel LaBelle (The Predator, Dead Shack) as Sammy Fabelman, Paul Dano (The Batman, Love & Mercy) as Burt Fabelman, Judd Hirsch (Ordinary People, Taxi-TV) as Uncle Boris and Seth Rogan (Long Shot, Steve Jobs) as Bennie Loewy; this movie loosely based on Steven Spielberg’s childhood was a nostalgic slice of life experience. No matter the age, one could easily experience the feelings and emotions that were coming out of the script. I thought the acting was stellar from Michelle, Paul and especially Judd. With Steven’s direction, he masterfully directed the story down a sure and steady path. There were, however, a couple of slower parts that were minor compared to the rest of the picture. The word that comes to my mind is “hominess.” I do not know if it was the era this script depicts, but there was a comfort in watching a little boy strive to reach his dreams. It is a good lesson for all of us.
3 ½ stars