The Fabelmans: awards, how to watch, reviews and everything we know about the Steven Spielberg movie

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans
Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Everyone knows who Steven Spielberg is — one of the most famous directors ever — but his latest movie, The Fabelmans, is going to show a side of Spielberg that many have never seen before.

Coming off West Side Story, the lavish musical that received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Spielberg and a win for Best Supporting Actress for Ariana DeBose, Spielberg is going back to his childhood with a semi-autobiographical story.

Here is everything that we know about The Fabelmans.

How to watch The Fabelmans

The Fabelmans is playing exclusively in movie theaters, going wide in the US on November 23. Learn more about how to watch The Fabelmans here.

UK audiences are getting The Fabelmans on January 27.

The Fabelmans plot

The Fabelmans is loosely based on Steven Spielberg's own childhood and how his passion for moviemaking began. Here is the official synopsis:

"A deeply personal portrait of 20th Century American childhood, Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans is a coming-of-age story about a young man’s discovery of a shattering family secret and an exploration of the power of movies to help us see the truth about each other and ourselves."

Steven Spielberg wrote the script with frequent collaborator Tony Kushner.

Spielberg is joining a long line of directors that have chosen to depict bits of their life in a movie. Some famous examples include Federico Fellini's Amarcord and 8 1/2, George Lucas' American Graffiti and Joanna Hogg's The Souvenir and The Souvenir Part II.

The Fabelmans reviews — what the critics are saying

The buzz on The Fabelmans has been very strong. The movie has been "Certified Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 94% (as of November 22) and an 85 on Metacritic, with its "Must-See" designation.

In our The Fabelmans review, What to Watch gives the movie four stars, praising Spielberg's ability to find the heart and humor of his origin story without it seeming self aggrandizing.

The Fabelmans awards and nominations

An expected major player in the 2022 awards landscape for the Oscars and more, here's a rundown of the awards and nominations that The Fabelmans have picked up:

Academy Awards

  • Best Picture (nominee)
  • Best Director — Steven Spielberg (nominee)
  • Best Actress — Michelle Williams (nominee)
  • Best Supporting Actor — Judd Hirsch (nominee)
  • Best Original Screenplay — Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner (nominees)
  • Best Score (nominee)
  • Best Production Design (nominee)

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Original Screenplay — Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner (nominees)

Golden Globes

  • Best Picture: Drama (nominee)
  • Best Actress: Drama — Michelle Williams (nominee)
  • Best Director — Steven Spielberg (nominee)
  • Best Screenplay — Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner (nominee)
  • Best Score (nominee)

Critics Choice Awards

  • Best Picture (nominee)
  • Best Actress — Michelle Williams (nominee)
  • Best Supporting Actor — Paul Dano (nominee)
  • Best Supporting Actor — Judd Hirsch (nominee)
  • Best Young Actor/Actress — Gabrielle LaBelle (nominee)
  • Best Acting Ensemble (nominee)
  • Best Director — Steven Spielberg (nominee)
  • Best Original Screenplay — Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner (nominees)
  • Best Cinematography (nominee)
  • Best Production Design (nominee)
  • Best Score (nominee)

London Critics Circle Awards

  • Film of the Year (nominee)
  • Screenwriter of the Year — Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner (nominees)

National Board of Review

  • Best Director — Steven Spielberg
  • Breakthrough Performance — Gabriel LaBelle
  • Top 10 Film

American Film Institute

  • AFI Movie of the Year

Toronto International Film Festival

  • People's Choice Award

The Fabelmans cast

Paul Dano and Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans

Paul Dano and Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

There are four main cast members in The Fabelmans: Michelle Williams (The Greatest Showman, Blue Valentine) playing Mitzi Fabelman, who is based on Spielberg's mother; Paul Dano (The Batman, There Will Be Blood) playing Burt Fabelman, based on Spielberg's father; Seth Rogen (Pam & Tommy, Long Shot) playing Bennie Lowey, a family friend of the Fabelmans; and Gabriel LaBelle (The Predator, American Gigolo) as Sammy Fabelman, the stand-in for the young Spielberg.

Additional cast members include Julia Butters (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Jeannie Berlin (Succession), Robin Bartlett (The Shrink Next Door), Keeley Karsten (Hunters), Judd Hirsch (Independence Day) and fellow director and occasional actor David Lynch (Twin Peaks).

The Fabelmans trailer

The Fabelmans trailer is now available, showing how a young filmmaker found his spark. Watch directly below:

What is The Fabelmans rated?

The Fabelmans is rated PG-13 in the US for "strong language, thematic elements, brief violence and drug use." There is no UK rating at this time.

How long is The Fabelmans?

Steven Spielberg's autobiographical tale has a runtime of two hours and 31 minutes.

Recent Steven Spielberg movies

Steven Spielberg is of course most famous for movies like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, and the Oscar-winning director hasn’t slowed down even though he’s been in the business of making movies for 50 years. Some of his movies include the previously mentioned West Side Story, Ready Player One, The Post, The BFG and The Bridge of Spies.

All of these show that Spielberg continues to work on a broad range of movies and is doing so incredibly well. Heck, he even managed to do something for the first time recently, directing a music video for Marcus Mumford.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.