The Fabelmans

2022 film directed by Steven Spielberg

The Fabelmans is a 2022 film about young Sammy Fabelman, growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, who aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner.
Capture every moment.

Sammy Fabelman

  • It feels like my life is going by so fast, but it's not getting anywhere.

Mitzi Fabelman

  • Movies are dreams that you never forget.
  • I'm doing this thing. And I don't know if it's the right thing but it's a life or death thing for me, and I'm sorry, but everybody else is gonna have to hang on for dear life. And somehow, we will survive this, all of us. Even your father, who I adore with all my heart. He deserves so much better than what I'm doing, but... .but Benny needs me, dolly. And I need him. So much so that without him, I'm turning into someone I don't know, and none of you will know my anymore. I'll just be that hateful person who did that terrible thing to your back. And yes, this is the most selfish thing I have ever done. But I've gotta do this now because, Sammy, you do what your heart says you have to, because you don't owe anyone your life. Not even me.
  • Everything happens for a reason.

Burt Fabelman

  • We're never not going to know each other, Sammy.
  • We've gone too far in our story to actually say "the end."
  • You can't just love something, you also have to take care of it.

Uncle Boris

  • Family, art: It will tear you in two.
  • Art will give you crowns in heaven and laurels on Earth, but also, it will tear your heart out and leave you lonely. You'll be a shanda [disgrace in Yiddish] for your loved ones. An exile in the desert. A gypsy. Art is no game! Art is dangerous as a lion's mouth. It'll bite your head off.


  • Bennie Loewy: [to Sammy] Think whatever bad things you want about me, kiddo, but you stop making movies, it’ll break your mother’s heart. You will break her heart, I mean it. [he tears up] And she doesn’t deserve that, not from anybody. Least of all from you.
  • Monica Sherwood: [to Sammy] Sometimes we can't fix things, Sam. All we can do, is suffer.
  • John Ford: [to Sammy] Now remember this! When the horizon's at the bottom, it's interesting. When the horizon's at the top, it's interesting. When the horizon's in the middle, it's boring as shit. Now, good luck to you. And get the fuck out of my office!


Burt Fabelman: [driving on Christmas] The lights change how everything looks. It's hard to find our house.
Younger Sammy Fabelman: Ours is the dark house with no lights.
[Mitzi laughs]
Younger Sammy Fabelman: That's what I want for Hanukkah.
Mitzi Fabelman: What?
Younger Sammy Fabelman: Christmas lights!

Sammy Fabelman: Putting your head in a lion's mouth is art?
Uncle Boris: No, sticking your head in the mouth of lions was balls! Making sure that lion didn't eat my head? That is art!

Sammy Fabelman: Do you always have to be the center of attention?
Reggie Fabelman: Stop shouting at her!
Mitzi Fabelman: There has been nothing but disrespect from you; I am your mother!
Sammy Fabelman: I wish you weren't!

Mitzi Fabelman: [after watching Sammy's film of her and Bennie] Bennie and me, we never... we never d - we never let it get as far as I imagine you think.
Sammy Fabelman: Oh I never imagined any of that.
Mitzi Fabelman: Do you think dad knows? I don’t mean did you tell him, I know you didn’t. But - do you think he has an inkling?
[Sammy has no answer]
Mitzi Fabelman: I’ve almost told him so many times. I’ll say “Burt, there’s something I’ve got to tell you,” and, and he looks at me like he can’t conceive that anything could be wrong between us. So instead I say “Burt, we got ants,” or “Burt, could you climb on the roof and turn the antenna so I can watch Channel 5?” Which, of course, he does. [pause] I can’t fight with your father. He kills with such kindness. I’m mean to him, he buys me a dress. From Saks.
Sammy Fabelman: Mom, when I showed you what I filmed, I never meant for any of this to happen.
Mitzi Fabelman: [she nods] Guilt is a wasted emotion.
Sammy Fabelman: What’s gonna happen now?
Mitzi Fabelman: I’m gonna be your mom. I’m gonna be the girls’ mom. Despite my countless faults, I’m not ruining everything for everyone. I’m gonna not be selfish. Burt Fabelman is the kindest, smartest, wisest, most patient, most decent, most understanding man there is. And I’m gonna stay married to him

Mitzi Fabelman: When I was a girl and I felt sad, I’d go to the zoo and I’d watch the monkeys.
Monica Sherwood: They made you laugh?
Mitzi Fabelman: Yeah, the monkeyshines. But there was more to it than that, it was...They understand what we’ve done to them, with the cages and the people pointing. We share that with them, the truth of how cruel people are. But if you watch them for long enough, you can tell they know stuff we can’t begin to imagine, important stuff. And they’re not going to let us in on it. Because it belongs to them, it’s their own monkey business, theirs. It’s not ours. It’s, oh I dunno...
Burt Fabelman: Self-possession.
[Mitzi looks at him, an instant of deep connection. She gives him a sad smile.]
Mitzi Fabelman: Right. They belong to themselves.
Hadassah Fabelman: If it belongs to itself, let it go back to where it came from.
Mitzi Fabelman: Anyway, that’s how come I got a monkey.
Natalie Fabelman: And a therapist.
Lisa Fabelman: He throws his poop.
Monica Sherwood: The therapist?
Lisa Fabelman: No the monkey.
Hadassah Fabelman: That’s why I’m staying in a hotel.
Burt Fabelman: You don’t have to. We have plenty of room -
Hadassah Fabelman: My rabbi in New Jersey says a monkey in the house isn’t Kosher.
Mitzi Fabelman: That’s why we’re not going to eat him.
Burt Fabelman: Did you schedule him for his polio vaccine?
Monica Sherwood: They can get polio?
Burt Fabelman: Well, they’re susceptible to pretty much everything humans are, so yes.
Mitzi Fabelman: Pass the peas. He hates going to the vet. You see, Monica, in this family, it’s the scientists versus the artists. Sammy’s on my team, he takes after me, except he’s got real talent.
Sammy Fabelman: Mom.
Natalie Fabelman: And he’s completely terrible at science.
Reggie Fabelman: And algebra.
Natalie Fabelman: And sports.
Sammy Fabelman: Will you please stop!
Monica Sherwood: He showed me his camera.
Natalie Fabelman: Is he good at kissing?
Monica Sherwood: I’ll tell you later.
[the girls giggle]

Reggie Fabelman: Is she gonna marry Bennie?
Sammy Fabelman: If she wants to, she will, she’s the most selfish person on earth.
Reggie Fabelman: It must’ve been hard for her, married to a... a genius.
Sammy Fabelman: Dad worships Mom.
Reggie Fabelman: OK - But maybe it’s hard, being worshipped by someone you know you’ll never be as good as, or ever do anything as good as. She laughs at Bennie’s jokes, but...Dad’s always been her best audience.
[Reggie starts to cry]
Sammy Fabelman: Come on. She’ll be fine, she’ll tell herself everything happens for a reason, she’ll make excuses like she always -
Reggie Fabelman: You’re way more selfish than her.
[Sammy, confused, tries to laugh it off]
Reggie Fabelman: That’s why you’re angry at her. It’s because she’s scared. Just like you, Sammy. Out of everyone in this outta-control falling-apart family, the one who’s most like Mitzi is you.

Sammy Fabelman: So in September when I move to LA, I’m gonna try to get work in a movie studio.
Monica Sherwood: I thought you were going to college?
Sammy Fabelman: Could you - Would you ever consider coming with me?
Monica Sherwood: I’m going to Texas A&M. You know that.
Sammy Fabelman: Yes, I do. But I thought maybe you should change your mind. Because...
Monica Sherwood: Because what?
Sammy Fabelman: Because I love you.
Monica Sherwood: OW! SAMMY! [He’s just stepped on her foot.]
Sammy Fabelman: I’m sorry! Sorry sorry sorry!
Monica Sherwood: That’s not...possible!
Sammy Fabelman: What? No, it is! Monica, I love you!
Monica Sherwood: That’s impossible! Sammy -
Sammy Fabelman: Sam.
Monica Sherwood: We only started dating like - [she pulls a little away from him] Everything was so normal before! Why’re you acting so -
Sammy Fabelman: No, because nothing is normal now. They’re getting a divorce.
Monica Sherwood: What are you talking about?!
Sammy Fabelman: My mom and dad, they’re splitting up.
Monica Sherwood: Jesus Christ!! This is Prom! You can’t just blurt something out like that at Prom!
[Monica walks off the dance floor. Sammy follows.]
Sammy Fabelman: Wait - [he catches up to her] Monica! Look, that’s - That’s got nothing to do with us, okay! That’s not why I said that I love you, I don’t know why -
Monica Sherwood: I’m not gonna like change my whole life and move to Hollywood because your parents are having marital difficulties!
[Monica takes off her necklace]
Monica Sherwood: You can get a refund. I hardly wore it at all. [holds it out to him]
Sammy Fabelman: Are you breaking up with me?
Monica Sherwood: Not at Prom, but of course eventually. I’m gonna pray on it, and I’m gonna pray really really hard for you, because you are such a fun boy to kiss, but...Sometimes we just can’t fix things, Sam, and all we can do is suffer.

Logan Hall: [after being portrayed as a hero in Sammy's class film] Am I supposed to feel bad now about all that shit we did to you?
Sammy Fabelman: Do you feel bad about it?
Logan Hall: That's none of your goddam business!
Sammy Fabelman: Because you should feel bad about it!
Logan Hall: Alright that's why you did it. You wanted me to feel like crap!
Sammy Fabelman: I wanted you to be nice to me for five minutes or I did it to make my movie better! I don't know why. You are the biggest jerk I have ever met in my entire life, I have a monkey at home that's smarter than you! You dumb anti-semitic asshole! I made you look like you could fly.

Sammy Fabelman: Is something about to happen?
Logan Hall: You like living dangerously, Fabelman.
Sammy Fabelman: No, I don't. I really, really don't.
Logan Hall: Yes, you do. But you tell anybody about me getting, um... upset, that would be a mistake. Our secret. Okay?
Sammy Fabelman: Definitely. [long pause] Unless I make a movie about it. Which I'm never, ever going to do.

Logan Hall: Life's nothing like the movies, Fabelman.
Sammy Fabelman: Maybe not. But hey, in the end, you got the girl.


  • Keeley Karsten - Natalie Fabelman
    • Alina Brace - young Natalie
  • Sophia Kopera - Lisa Fabelman
  • Sam Rechner - Logan Hall
  • Oakes Fegley - Chad Thomas
  • Chloe East - Monica Sherwood
  • Isabelle Kusman - Claudia Denning
  • Chandler Lovelle - Renee
  • Gustavo Escobar - Sal
  • Nicolas Cantu - Hark

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