Posts Tagged ‘Oakes Fegley’

Persistence of Vision

The Fabelmans

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, Gabriel LaBelle, Julia Butters, Mateo Zoryan, Julia Butters, Sam Rechner, Oakes Fegley

Running Time: 2 hours 31 minutes

Film Rating: 9 out of 10

Oscar winning director Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan) makes his most personal film by far, with the critically acclaimed film The Fabelmans which won the People’s Choice Award at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), a sure indicator of multi Oscar nominations.

The Fabelmans is a fictional account of Spielberg’s childhood and his idyllic love of cinema and focuses on a boy Sammy Fabelman brilliantly played respectively by Mateo Zoryan as a young boy and Gabriel LaBelle as the teenager and wisecracking Jewish kid who turns his hobby of filmmaking into a career choice.

With an excellent script by Tony Kushner (Munich, Lincoln), The Fabelmans focuses on a Jewish family in America in the 1950’s and 1960’s starting in New Jersey and moving across the country first to Arizona and then finally to California. Sammy’s parents Burt and Mitzi Fabelman are played by Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, 12 Years a Slave, There will be Blood) and four time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week with Marilyn, Manchester by the Sea).

Michelle Williams finally deserves an Oscar for her complex portrayal of Mitzi Fabelman a slightly off kilter but talented mother who will do anything for Sammy and his three sisters but is willing to risk everything for true love.

Williams’s performance is mesmerizing in The Fabelmans and she creates the emotional centre for this film, particularly in the superbly acted scenes between Mitzi and her son Sammy as he negotiates adolescence and discovers a secret about his mother which will rip his family apart.

In between all the family drama, there is Sammy’s persistent love of cinema and his dedicated desire to film everything and in the end does capture every moment even the scenes that are not meant to be filmed. Even at high school besides being terrorized for being the only Jewish boy at a predominantly Christian school in Northern California he even films the Ditch Day at the Beach and makes one of his archenemies and school jock Logan Hall played by rising star Sam Rechner uncomfortable when he sees himself on screen.

Audiences should watch out for a superb cameo by veteran actor Judd Hirsch as Uncle Boris who influences young Sammy into following his dreams of becoming a film maker.

With superb cinematography by Spielberg regular and Oscar winner Janusz Kaminski (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan) and excellent ensemble acting, The Fabelmans is a love letter to traditional cinema, to the art of film making while effortlessly exploring serious issues including anti-Semitism, infidelity and mental health.

The Fabelmans is a top class film: elegant, nostalgic and perfectly acted. Highly recommended viewing, this excellent film gets a film rating of 9 out of 10 and signifies Spielberg’s undisputed persistence of vision as a top calibre film director.

The Cunning Art of Thievery

The Goldfinch

Director: John Crowley

Cast: Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, Willa Fitzgerald, Anuerin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Luke Kleintank, Denis O’Hare

Irish director John Crowley (Brooklyn) brings to cinematic life Donna Tart’s immersive and poignant Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Goldfinch in a sprawling and beautifully acted film version featuring an international cast including Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) as Mrs Barbour, a wealthy Park Avenue woman who graciously takes in the young Theo Decker brilliantly played by Oakes Fegley, after his mother is killed in a terrorist attack at New York’s famous Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Theo having survived a thoroughly traumatic event, is introduced to the extremely wealthy Barbour family who he stays with while he awaits to hear from his wayward con-artist father Larry played by Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Concussion, 3:10 to Yuma). Larry eventually swoops in with his hard as nails girlfriend Xandra expertly played by Golden Globe winner Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story) to whisk Theo off to the brilliant shiny desert of Nevada away from the old world charm of New York City.

As The Goldfinch expertly weaves multiple story lines into a dazzling picaresque tale, it is more essentially about Theo’s friendship with the mysterious antique dealer Hobie beautifully played by Jeffrey Wright (Skyfall).

The Goldfinch is gorgeously photographed in all its blinding contrasts by Oscar winning cinematographer Roger Deakins (Blade Runner: 2049) who adds lustre to a fascinating tale of a boy who inadvertently steals a priceless Dutch painting by 17th century portrait painter Carel Fabritius a budding young student of Rembrandt.

As the actions flits between, New York, Las Vegas and Amsterdam, The Goldfinch is a gripping, fascinating tale of art theft, addiction and loss as the film examines the effects of parental loss on a young boy. Utterly superb viewing. Audiences should watch out for a rather energetic performance by Dunkirk star Anuerin Barnard as the older version of Ukrainian Gothic friend Boris who plays an integral part in achieving his destiny which is inevitably entwined with a rare painting by an early Dutch master. The older version of Theo Decker is adequately played by rising star Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver, Billionaire Boys Club).

Elegant and absorbing, with stunning performances, The Goldfinch is a sophisticated drama about the conflicts between the old and new world and the shadows that lie in between. Those that have read Donna Tartt’s brilliant novel will appreciate this gorgeous film adaptation.

Highly recommended viewing, The Goldfinch gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10.

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April 2024
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