Steven Spielberg’s most personal film yet is based on the master director’s childhood passion for moviemaking, and the family dynamics that found their way into his work.

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Special Presentations

The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg comes to the Festival for the first time with his most personal film yet. The Fabelmans finds the director reflecting on the experiences that made him the filmmaker we know and love, in a story based on his childhood in Arizona.

Gabriel LaBelle gives a breakout performance as the teenage Sammy Fabelman, always desperate for a new piece of gear so he can make ever-bigger movies with his friends. Michelle Williams is the heart of the story as Sammy’s encouraging mother, a skilled pianist. She brings life to their household, a fact Mr. Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer, finds as enchanting as he does discombobulating. Their family is rounded out by his loveable co-worker Benny (Seth Rogen), who becomes an uncle to Sammy and his sisters, always along for the ride with the Fabelmans. This unique combination of parental figures eventually becomes a source of tension with Sammy at the centre, and that seeps into his creative work.

Instead of chasing sharks or running from giant boulders, Spielberg has Sammy navigating the interpersonal landmines of home and school life, in what may be the most emotionally expansive film of his career. Starting with gunslingers and war stories, the way any Boy Scout in the late 1950s might, Sammy/Spielberg shows us not only what sparked Spielberg’s love for cinema, but also how empathy and human relationships have sneaked their way into the work of this master filmmaker.

JANE SCHOETTLE

Content advisory: bullying, antisemitic language, mature themes

Screenings

Sat Sep 10

VISA Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre

Premium
9:15pm
Sun Sep 11

TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Press
8:00am
Sun Sep 11

TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Press
8:05am
Sun Sep 11

Roy Thomson Hall

Regular
11:30am
Wed Sep 14

Roy Thomson Hall

Regular
9:00pm
Fri Sep 16

TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Regular
9:15am
Fri Sep 16

VISA Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre

Regular
5:30pm
Sat Sep 17

VISA Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre

Regular
11:00am