It’s not just a fable, man. It’s one of the best works of a beloved director.

“The Fabelmans” is a fictional autobiography of director Steven Spielberg, who gives us a glimpse at how his passion for movie making started in this movie that will delight any Spielberg fan … or anyone else, for that matter.

Michelle Williams plays the mom of Sammy (Mateo Zoryan and Gabriel LaBelle at different ages,) Paul Dano as Burt, the family patriarch who is a scientist applying early technology to business processes.

Sammy is 8 when his parents take him to a theater to see “The Greatest Show on Earth.” He is mesmerized, especially with the train-crash sequence toward the finale. Sammy asks for a train set, and he gets one, but he doesn’t want to watch them roll around a track; rather, he wants to recreate the crash scene.

His love of film becomes more than a hobby. Sammy has a passion, and he uses it every chance he gets to cast, direct and edit his own films, whether they depict a day at the beach or a rollicking time for the students at his school.

The family includes Burt’s best friend Benny (Seth Rogen.) He, too, sees the genius within Sammy.

It’s great fun to see the topics the young director embraces – his combat movie earns him a merit badge. He uses a clever technique – it wouldn’t be fair to share it here – to add some realism to a Western.

Every scene isn’t a happy one. As Sammy grows a little older, he finds himself the target of anti-Semitic bullies while talent for film-making continues. Additionally, through his camera lens, he discovers some disruption in his family.

Every cinephile will embrace the movie’s last scene – it’s terrific, with a brilliant and unexpected cameo. (Speaking of cameos, Judd Hirsch has an enjoyable one here.)

Don’t miss this crowd-pleaser about the joy of movies and the passion of directors.

4 stars

Rated: PG-13 for coarse language, sexual situations and other adult themes.

Running time: 2 ½ hours.

 At Cinemark, Davenport.

Watch the trailer here.