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  • Writer's pictureDuke Daniel Pierce

Hirsch Steals the Show at TIFF

Updated: Sep 15, 2022


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

“Everything about getting direction from somebody who is doing a movie about themselves about their own story is that they are going to be very concerned about you, very concerned about how you fit, and who you are to them because you’re real, you know. So, I was kind of shiver and shake, right? It’s like saying, ‘am I like him?’”


Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans premiered this weekend at the Toronto Film Festival to a standing ovation that, according to the Hollywood Reporter, was so long the “TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey had to ask everyone to sit down so they could start the Q&A.”


The autobiographical film follows Sammy Fabelman in a post-WWII America as he discovers a family secret and explores how the power of film can help him see the truth.


Among The Fabelmans stacked cast of Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and Seth Rogan, is Class of 1962 alumnus Judd Hirsch who plays “the wacky and art-loving Uncle Boris.” And as in most things he appears in, Hirsch seems to be a standout in the film even though only appearing briefly. Most reviews of the film single out Hirsch as a stand-out performance, with Kyle Buchanan at The New York Times speculating that he may even get an Oscar nod. He’s not the only one, Benjamin Lee at The Guardian says, “...it’s a brief cameo from Judd Hirsch as a strange and estranged uncle that could be the real awards play here….” Peter Debruge at Variety proclaimed Hirsch’s scene is “...one of those one-scene wonders… that leaves an indelible impression.” David Ehrlich with IndieWire revealed that “...the audience erupted into applause when Hirsch’s character made his exit,” in the same vein, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Hirsch got the biggest reaction from the TIFF crowd.


The reaction would seem to set aside any fears Hirsch may have had going into the project. While on the panel following the screening, Hirsch asked about “the real guy,” to which Speilberg said he “never understood a word he said” due to his “thick accent.”


The Fabelmans marked the first Speilberg-directed film to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It is currently sitting at 96% Rotten Tomatoes critics rating and will hit theaters November 23rd. Watch the trailer here.



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