Anyone who’s got even a smidge of interest in movies knows the name Steven Spielberg. Now 76, the legendary filmmaker has been directing feature films for more than 50 years (his first, Dual, came out in 1971), winning a pair of Best Director Oscars (for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan) and helming several bonafide classics, including Jaws, Jurassic Park, E.T., and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
When COVID hit, Spielberg, like many others, started questioning the future of the film industry. While he struggled to acclimate to the Zoom world that was thrust upon us, he started thinking about what would eventually become The Fabelmans.
“I started thinking, what’s the one story I haven’t told that I’d be really mad at myself if I don’t?” he asked in an interview in The New York Times. “It was always the same answer every time: the story of my formative years growing up between 7 and 18.”
The Fabelmans, which Spielberg directed and co-wrote with his frequent collaborator Tony Kushner, tells just that story. The movie follows Sam Fabelman (mostly played as a teen by Gabriel LaBelle, wonderful in the role) as he discovers his own passion for film and grows up in both Arizona and California.
If it sounds like The Fabelmans runs the risk of being self-indulgent, that’s a fair thought to have. But it’s not that; the movie is an honest coming-of-age tale that feels real, well, because it is. The movie shows us how one of history’s great filmmakers became who he is today, but it also takes us inside the life of a young man who learns, little by little, that the people who are most important in shaping him into the person he will one day become—his parents—aren’t infallible, but rather flawed people trying their best, just like everyone else.
Spielberg has made a ton of great movies, and The Fabelmans, which might be his most personal of all, is up there with the best of them.
Who’s in The Fabelmans cast?
In addition to Gabrielle LaBelle as Sam Fabelman, the movie features Paul Dano and Michelle Williams as Burt and Mitzi Fabelman—based on Spielberg’s parents—along with Seth Rogen as his “Uncle” Benny, his dad’s best friend. Sam has two sisters, played by Julia Butters (Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood) and Keeley Karsten, and the family is also briefly visited by Judd Hirsch, who plays the scene-stealing Uncle Boris. David Lynch shows up in a late-movie cameo that you absolutely will not forget.
Which Academy Awards is The Fabelmans nominated for?
The Fabelmans is up for seven Oscars this year. That includes Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Michelle Williams), Best Supporting Actor (Judd Hirsch), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Original Score (marking his record 53rd, second all-time to only Walt Disney).
How to watch The Fabelmans
As of right now, there are two ways you can see The Fabelmans: the movie is still playing in theaters, so you can find it at your local cinema, or you can rent it at home on Amazon, Apple TV, and others.
Is The Fabelmans available on any streaming service?
As of this moment, it is not.
However, the movie is made by Universal. This means that like other recent Universal releases—including Jordan Peele’s Nope, Ticket to Paradise, and Jurassic World Dominion—it’s likely that when the time comes, The Fabelmans will stream exclusively on Peacock.
Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.