"Everything about me is in my films," Steven Spielberg has said. Taking this as a key to understanding the hugely successful moviemaker, Molly Haskell explores the full range of Spielberg's works for the light they shine upon the man himself. Through such powerhouse hits as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Jurassic Park, and Indiana Jones, to less-appreciated movies like Empire of the Sun, to the haunting Schindler's List, Haskell shows how Spielberg's uniquely evocative filmmaking and story-telling reveal the many ways in which his life, work, and times are entwined.
Organizing chapters around specific films, the distinguished critic discusses how Spielberg's childhood in non-Jewish suburbs, his parents' traumatic divorce, his return to Judaism upon his son's birth, and other events echo in his work. She offers a brilliant portrait of the extraordinary director-a small, unhappy boy living through his imagination who grew into a man whose openness, generosity of spirit, and creativity have enchanted audiences for more than 40 years.
"This is a wonderful book, at once personal and critical, eloquent and vivacious." (Morris Dickstein, author of Dancing in the Dark)
We've sent an email with your order details. Order ID #:
To access this title, visit your library in the app or on the desktop website.
Well done but Oddly Written
If you have an interest in Spielberg there are some gems to be gleaned. The writing style is a bit stilted which might make the audio an acquired taste. The book is narrated by Johnny Heller, who does a great job of making the text accessible. Noticed another review here mentioning a problem with "her" on the audio ??? There is a few minute intro by narrator Perrin which is Ms. Haskell's intro, which is fine, although again, the text is not fluid, but the entire book is read only by Heller. Again, I think it's an acquired taste.
Narrator is great. A lot of book is psychoanalysis
The best thing about the book is narrator Johnny Heller. His voice is reminiscent of Hector Elizondo and great to listen to.
As for the book's content: From the early years of Spielberg's grandparents, parents, and Spielberg himself, a lot of the book is an attempt at psychoanalysis of Spielberg's work and how his childhood has repeatedly put characters that are missing fathers and other factors.
Having a Bachelors in Psychology, I felt this approach was very heavy, droll, and while maybe a bit of interest, overall too pervasive. I would rather have learned actual stories about the making of his films, how he chooses his projects, etc than an attempt to frame his work from a "his childhood caused this to be a plot point" approach.
All in all, not a very enjoyable book.
If all of her books are written from a psychoanalytic standpoint, probably not. I like biographies and memoirs that educate me about stories from the making of the film.
Evaluating how someone's father leaving at an early age created a repetitive theme of fatherless children in a director's films may be educational to a point, but it should be at most a 15 minute evaluation where the films that have that theme are discussed. Not hours.
Basically, his father leaving, being Jewish, and the Holocaust have shaped everything in this book. If that sounds simplistic, it may be a reaction to the book being repetitive to the point of trying to beat the message into you.
Discussions regarding his rise, his setting up of everything from films to his offices, actual things that happened rather than opinions.
Keep an eye out for books narrated by Johnny Heller!!!
I believe the book was written either as a thesis/school project (hence the heavy analysis) or by someone who has a background in Psychology and wanted to apply their education/views on to Spielberg's work. For that purpose, this book would be great.
But beyond watching E.T., Schindler's List, etc and holding them up against Spielberg's life history for analysis, the book lacks a lot of inside anecdotes regarding the actual making of Spielberg's films that one typically finds when reading a biography of a person's work that goes year by year, film by film.
- James M. Patton