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Stories We Tell (2012)

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A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers.

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23 wins & 40 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Sarah Polley
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Polley ...
Himself - Storyteller
Harry Gulkin ...
Himself - Storyteller
Susy Buchan ...
Herself - Storyteller
John Buchan ...
Himself - Storyteller
Mark Polley ...
Himself - Storyteller
Joanna Polley ...
Herself - Storyteller
Cathy Gulkin ...
Herself - Storyteller
Marie Murphy ...
Herself - Storyteller
Robert MacMillan ...
Himself - Storyteller
Anne Tait ...
Herself - Storyteller
Deirdre Bowen ...
Herself - Storyteller
Victoria Mitchell ...
Herself - Storyteller
Mort Ransen ...
Himself - Storyteller
Geoffrey Bowes ...
Himself - Storyteller (as Geoff Bowes)
...
Himself - Storyteller
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Storyline

In this inspired, genre-twisting new film, Oscar®-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley discovers that the truth depends on who's telling it. Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers. She playfully interviews and interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting refreshingly candid, yet mostly contradictory, answers to the same questions. As each relates their version of the family mythology, present-day recollections shift into nostalgia-tinged glimpses of their mother, who departed too soon, leaving a trail of unanswered questions. Polley unravels the paradoxes to reveal the essence of family: always complicated, warmly messy and fiercely loving. Stories We Tell explores the elusive nature of truth and memory, but at its core is a deeply personal film about how our narratives shape and define us as individuals and families, all interconnecting to paint a profound, funny and poignant picture of the ... Written by The National Film Board of Canada

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving sexuality, brief strong language and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

17 January 2013 (Greece)  »

Also Known As:

Histórias que Contamos  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$27,053 (USA) (10 May 2013)

Gross:

$1,599,038 (USA) (4 October 2013)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Himself - Storyteller: When you're in the middle of a story, it isn't a story at all but rather a confusion, a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood, like a house in a whirlwind or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard are powerless to stop it. It's only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all, when you're telling it to yourself or someone else.
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Connections

Features Marriage Italian Style (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Tender, Sentimental Love
Written by Abraham Lass
From PLAY ME A MOVIE (Folkways Records/AH 3856)
Courtesy of TRF Production Music Libraries and Alpha Music Inc. and
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
© 1971 Used by permission.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
enlightening and deep
8 November 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Actor/director Polley's first documentary Stories We Tell is about her family, and specifically about her mother and her history, leading up to a big question that is answered in the course of the film: who is Sarah's *real* father, and what happened? While some of the magic-tricks that Polley seems to be playing – mixing actual 8mm film footage shot of her family at the time with (albeit very smoothly transitioned) reenactments with actors playing her mother, father, siblings, and the lover who turned out to be her biological father – is a bit tiring near the end, it's ultimately a fantastic story, a wonderful and bittersweet look at the ties that bind, how we delineate truth and fiction, and that love is really what should count. It's power is when it is its simplest – or when we see Polley's father in a recording booth reciting some finely written narration for her daughter (her father, by the way, is a known British actor from Canada, Michael Polley).


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