Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg’s Trailer for ‘The Fabelmans’ Reminds Me Just How Much I Love Movies

There is a special kind of magic for those of us who grew up watching Steven Spielberg movies. There’s a joy in his work that fills our hearts with such happiness knowing that the man who made this movie loved every second of doing so. I grew up watching his work. Whether it was watching Raiders of the Lost Ark on repeat or my lifelong love of Jurassic Park, there was something in a Spielberg movie that made me realize how good movies could be.

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So, it is no shock that the movie about Spielberg’s own inspiration is as cinematic and beautiful as his impressive collection of work. The Fabelmans, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival this year, dropped a trailer that stars Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy Fabelman, a boy inspired to make movies by his mother, who loved them with her whole heart.

“Movies are dreams that you never forget,” Sammy’s mother says in the trailer, and it sets the scene for the man who would become one of our greatest living directors. While Spielberg hasn’t named the characters after his own family members (or himself), it is a movie memoir about the love for cinema that his mother gave to him.

Maybe I should be embarrassed by how easily this trailer made me cry, but it comes from a longtime love of movies. It’s why I always try to find joy in what I’m watching and why I don’t like giving something a negative review. Movies can capture us and take us to another world and there aren’t many creatives who can do it like Steven Spielberg can, and seeing this trailer and his own inspiration shows us why he’s one of the best.

Learning about Spielberg’s life

In the trailer, it’s said that Sammy’s mother, played by Michelle Williams, could have been a concert pianist. Spielberg’s mother, Leah Adler, was, and Williams is made to look like pictures of a young Adler, who was one of the biggest champions for Spielberg and his work.

Showing Sammy, from a young age to being a teenager and making his own movies, the film also touches on the anti-semitism that Sammy faces in his town in Arizona. Spielberg himself is Jewish and grew up in Ohio, so while there are fictional elements to the story, it is still a memoir from Spielberg. At TIFF, Spielberg talked about the film’s Jewish identity with co-writer Tony Kushner (who he also worked with on West Side Story and Lincoln).

“It’s not complicated,” Spielberg said. “This is something, obviously, that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.”

Kushner went on to talk about how Spielberg’s Jewish identity is weaved into the film. “I like very much the sort of easy way that Jewishness lives in this movie. It’s a very profound part of Steven’s identity, and of the Fablemans’ identity,” Kushner said. “But it’s a movie that’s about Jewish people, rather than entirely or exclusively about Jewishness or antisemitism or something. So it’s not a problem, it’s who they are.”

The inspiration of Leah Adler

It’s easy to see where Spielberg pulled from for many of the moments in this trailer, and the moment that really hits home in terms of who this movie is for and about is when “uncle” Benny (Seth Rogen) tells Sammy that if he stops making movies. it will break his mother’s heart. That line, while seemingly clichéd and almost insignificant, works in a Spielberg picture because he knows the weight of it—both from this being a memoir and because there are few who understand being inspired and sharing art in the way that Spielberg does.

Spielberg’s work is something that families share together. I know that it was that way in my household growing up, with my brother sharing his love of movies with me by showing me Spielberg movies, and me becoming just as equally invested in his filmography because of it. It’s passed down by generations of mothers, fathers, siblings, and more because, for the most part, Spielberg’s body of work is consistently one that reminds us all why we love movies.

And this trailer shows that it comes from his mother. She loved movies and loved watching her son make them, and that, in turn, gave generations of us magic and joy that has led to me crying just thinking about this film. I cannot wait for The Fabelmans because if a trailer about the life of Spielberg can make me cry like this and remember why I love going to the movies, then I am in for quite a ride.

(featured image: Universal Pictures)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.