If there is one recurring image that defines the cinema of Steven Spielberg, it is The Spielberg Face. Eyes open, staring in wordless wonder in a moment where time stands still. But above all, a child-like surrender in the act of watching, both theirs and ours. It’s as if their total submission to what they are seeing mirrors our own. The face tells us that a monumental event is happening; in doing so, it also tells us how we should feel. If Spielberg deserves to be called a master of audience manipulation, then this is his signature stroke.
Kevin B. Lee of the Fandor blog created this terrific video essay exploring The Spielberg Face, Steven Spielberg’s masterstroke of emotional manipulation that has become his trademark. If it’s a Spielberg movie, you can bet that someone will stare at something behind you at least once, wonder filling their eyes.