10 Movies Like ‘The Fabelmans’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Touching coming-of-age movies

The Fabelmans is not only an ode to cinema and the makers behind the screens, but is also a loosely-based biopic on the childhood of the veteran director, Steven Spielberg. It starts off with a young kid, Sammy seeing his first-ever movie and not being able to get it out of his mind for days. He starts recreating what he has seen with his parents who are equally interested in cameras and everything technical. 

As Sammy grows up, his innocence starts to splinter with his parents drifting apart and him being bullied for his Jewish heritage. And the only solace he has is making home videos and mini-movies with his camera.

Well, if you like such realistic coming-of-age movies or biopics of prodigies, you’re in luck. Here are 10 similar movies to watch if you enjoyed The Fabelmans.

The Tender Bar

Similarities – Biopic, torn family

Based on the formative years of journalist J. R. Moehringer, The Tender Bar follows a young JR when he and his mother move in with his grandparents.

His uncle Charlie starts inculcating a love for literature after JR starts hanging out at his bar ‘The Dickens’. With a missing father figure, he starts looking up to his uncle while trying to become a writer.


Similarities – Coming of age, torn family

Boyhood tries to get authentic when it comes to coming-of-age movies as it not only follows the life of Mason from 6 to 18 years but also retained the same cast and shot over 7 years to show the realistic ageing of the characters.

Mason experiences the ups and downs of childhood and adolescence which is further made difficult as he has to divide his time between his separated parents.

Beautiful Boy

Similarities – Biopic, strained family relations

Beautiful Boy is based on the memoirs of the father-son duo David and Nic Sheff as their relationship struggled through Nic’s addiction. After a couple of relapses, Nic finally completes a program and starts making changes in his life including going to college, being a star student and getting a girlfriend.

Unfortunately, during a meet-up, he comes in contact with some pills which has David going through extreme resorts to stop his son from falling back into his old ways.

Lady Bird

Similarities – Coming of age, strained family relations

In the early 2000’s, we see Lady Bird, your usual angsty teenager who messes around with her friends, crushes over the popular boy and sulks when her mother tells her to do something.

But underneath the humour, the film takes the viewers through the importance of friendships, personal ties and appreciation for family. Lady Bird’s strained relationship with her mother makes it relatable for all those who hate parental nagging but still acknowledge the love that exists between a mother and child.

School Ties

Similarities – Jewish identity, discrimination, prodigy

If you wanted more of Sammy’s teen years in The Fabelmans, try out School Ties as it follows football star David Greene who seems to have everything except for the fact that he needs to hide that he is Jewish.

As he plays a dangerous game of being the popular guy at school while keeping his background a secret, it starts to get to him. But a drunk incident changes David’s world upside down once the mostly anti-Semitic school realises that he is Jewish.

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Similarities – True events, period drama, strained family relations

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire is a tear-jerking drama of Precious who goes through highs and lows before finally finding herself with the help of her teacher.

16-year-old Precious is a Black girl from Harlem, overweight and abused by her mother, raped and impregnated by her father and mother to a young girl Mongo who has Down syndrome.

With her second child on the way, her teacher, Ms Rain, hopes to uplift her and make her a strong and confident woman.

This Boy’s Life

Similarities – Biopic, period drama, strained family relations

Based on the memoir of writer Tobias Wolff, a single mother and her son finally settle down when Caroline meets Dwight, the perfect gentleman, the perfect husband and the seemingly perfect stepfather. That is till Caroline goes away for a few days and he starts abusing her son, little Toby.

Even though Caroline finds out, she stays with the man hoping to make the marriage work while the abuse of her son continues. Over the years, as Toby befriends a misfit, Arthur, they plan to run away and find Toby’s real father.

Good Will Hunting

Similarities – Prodigy, drama

Despite being a mathematical genius, Will Hunting works as a janitor at MIT while spending his nights drinking with his friends. Professor Lambeau is shocked to find him also solving difficult math equations while cleaning the classrooms.

When Will is arrested for getting into a fight, Lambeau bails him out on the condition that he must go to college and also get therapy.


Similarities – Biopic, torn family

Loosely based on the life of Joie, Cinque and Spike Lee, Crooklyn is a coming-of-age movie about a young Black girl, Troy living in Brooklyn in the 70s. As she grows up, she observes the struggles of a working-class family as her parents barely earn enough.

Elsewhere, she has a raucous but loving relationship with her siblings, i.e., till she is sent away to her aunt’s place. She is forced to grow up when she is called back home over the loss of a loved one.

The Hate U Give

Similarities – true events, discrimination

Starr is a young Black girl who comes from a Black country but goes to a White prep school, has White friends, a White boyfriend and doesn’t seem to consider the effect of racial divides.

But one day, her friend, Khalil who happens to be a young Black boy is shot dead in front of her by the police because they thought he was reaching for a gun when he picked up his comb. Along with the nation, Starr is shocked by the shooting which starts affecting her relationship with those at school.

So there we have it, our 10 movie alternatives to watch when you’re finished watching The Fabelmans.

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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