News is flying out of the Toronto International Film Festival fast and furiously. The behemoth of the festival circuit is currently running through September 18. TIFF usually spells out what we can expect from Hollywood over the next year or so. This, of course, covers the all-important “Awards Season.” It is September, after all.

Within the next two months, film journalists and audiences will be in the thick of the Oscar race as the industry releases its glitziest, classiest works for consideration. Last night, lucky TIFF attendees screened The Fabelmans. At the same time, those watching from afar were treated to the trailer for the long-awaited (and hotly anticipated) awards darling. 

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Directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans stars Paul Dano, Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Jeannie Berlin, Judd Hirsch and Gabriel LaBelle. Spielberg directs the film from a script he co-wrote with frequent collaborator Tony Kushner

Gabriel LaBelle lines up a shot in The Fabelmans.

The Fabelmans is said to be a semi-autobiographical examination of Spielberg’s life growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. The trailer paints a poignant, sweeping portrait of a young boy learning to dream and express himself through movies. As he grows, he develops his voice thanks to his free-spirited mother (Michelle Williams). Paul Dano steps into the part of the boy’s straight-laced father. 

Watching the trailer, The Fabelmans shows everything we’ve come to expect from the legendary filmmaker. There are flawless visuals, a sweeping John Williams score, and pitch-perfect performances. Very early festival word of mouth predicts Michelle Williams’ work in the feature will make her a strong contender for a much-overdue Academy Award. 

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Ultimately, if Hollywood loves anything, it is a movie about movies. In the trailer, Spielberg lovingly taps into the joy and wonder of cinema, which holds true for many. The sense of awe, imagination and the magic of the theatrical experience is visible in every frame.

In harnessing this sense of wonderment, Spielberg explores what not only shaped him as a filmmaker (as well as each of his contemporaries), but he taps into something communal for everyone who loves movies. Even Steven Spielberg was once a child marveling at the stars of the silver screen. Film shapes our culture, fuels our imagination, and, most importantly, teaches us to tell stories. 

The Fabelmans begins dropping in theaters on November 11, 2022, with a full release on Thanksgiving.

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Kimberly Pierce
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