The Fabelmans: a Love Letter to Cinema & Adolescence 

The fabelmans film

Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) in its 44th edition chose Steven Spielberg’s latest autobiographical film “The Fabelmans” to be the opening film for this year, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

About the Film

The Fabelmans is an auto-biographical story loosely based on Spielberg’s formative years; the very years that shaped his love for making movies, turning him into the great director we all know and love now. The story is about young Sammy Fabelman who discovers and explores his love for movies while his family breaks apart and mends together around him. 

The Fabelmans

Throughout the film, we live Sammy’s life with his family and friends. At first, we see it through his polished movie-like perspective. However, as we go in, we see it as it is; a dysfunctional family that’s just trying to make the most out of their life, constantly living profoundly beautiful moments and heartbreaking defeats. 

“Movies are dreams that you never forget” 

The film does not only depict Sammy’s passion for making movies, but also being torn between practicing what he loves and trying to convince his dad that what he loves is worth something, that it is not just a “hobby”. It is a constant battle between feeling seen and unseen, appreciated and pushed over. And while we see his dad’s struggle to understand Sammy’s reasoning, we still see his love for him. We see that he does see him, even if he doesn’t understand. 

“Family, art, it will tear you in two” 

The Fabelmans

Sammy’s mother’s unwavering support affects him, he is just like her, passionate and full of life. However, it affects him in all the ways, he feels for her too much to stop caring about her struggles, even if they hurt him in return. 


Steven Spielberg is no stranger to individualistic and moving stories. However, I have always felt that we as an audience, never really got to explore the personal side of his films, just until this one. 

The Fabelmans

It is hard to see this film and feel nothing but nostalgia and longing. You will be able to feel Sammy’s hunger even if you can’t relate, you will feel his hurt even if you don’t understand. At the end of the day, we are all just trying to be who we are, despite our families, our struggles, and our shyness, or maybe because of them. 

Either way, you have to see this film, it might awaken something in you, or it might feel too cheesy for your taste, but either way, it will be memorable, and it will be worth it. 

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