The Fabelmans

Director: Steven Spielberg
Year Released: 2022
Rating: 3.0

Or, A Portrait of the Director as a Young Man.  Samuel Fabelman (Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord as a child, Gabriel LaBelle as a teenager) - who's based on Spielberg - lives and moves around (from Jersey to Arizona to California) with his kooky mother Mitzy (Michelle Williams), engineer father Burt (Paul Dano) and sisters, develops a fascination for the cinema at an early age, is given his first 8mm camera and learns how to make movies, discovers Mom might be having a fling with family friend Bennie (Seth Rogan), goes to high school and is bullied ... and then struggles to get a job in Hollywood.  As a love letter to the medium (and, let's face it, himself), it celebrates the way in which film can be used to not only entertain but also discover new truths as well as criticize and idolize its subjects ... but there are chunks that comes across like an awkward sitcom, particularly when Sam's regularly beaten up and chased down and called a "Christ Killer" ... and then gets (and loses) his Jesus Freak "girlfriend" Monica (Chloe East).  But individual moments - crazy Uncle Boris (Judd Hirsch) tells him about the importance of art and pursuing your dreams (rip your shirt!) and notorious crank John Ford (David Lynch) gives him a tip for framing his shots - help guide it through.