Woody Allen Steven Spielberg Peter Debruge USA film show audience Woody Allen Steven Spielberg Peter Debruge USA

‘The Fabelmans’ Review: Steven Spielberg Takes a Sweet, Heavily Filtered Selfie of His Formative Years

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Peter Debruge Chief Film Critic No director has done more to deconstruct the myth of the suburban American family than Steven Spielberg.

Dissertations have been written and documentaries made on the subject. And now, at the spry young age of 75, Spielberg himself weighs in on where his preoccupations come from in “The Fabelmans,” a personal account of his upbringing that feels like listening to two and a half hours’ worth of well-polished cocktail-party anecdotes, only better, since he’s gone to the trouble of staging them all for our benefit.

Spielberg’s a born storyteller, and these are arguably his most precious stories. From the first movie he saw (“The Greatest Show on Earth”) to memories of meeting filmmaker John Ford on the Paramount lot, this endearing, broadly appealing account of how Spielberg was smitten by the medium — and why the prodigy nearly abandoned picture-making before his career even started — holds the keys to so much of the master’s filmography.

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