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
Michael Polley - 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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Incredibly documentary from filmmaker Sarah Polley who as a child heard stories that the man she thought was her father might not have been. Through interviews with friends, families and those who knew her mother, Polley tries to figure out which part of these stories were true and who exactly her father is. STORIES WE TELL is without question one of the most memorable documentaries to come around in a very long time. I think a strong argument could be made that we're living in an era that has given us so many great documentaries but this here is without question one of the very best. The main focus is to find out who Polley's father is but at the same time the film is about so much more. Just seeing what impact a simple story can have on so many people was just interesting to watch in front of us and Polley pretty much turns this into a Hitchcock thriller because you just never know what twist is going to follow. The director does a terrific job at telling this story, bouncing around from those interviewed to help complete this picture but there's also the impact that her mother's decision had on everyone. There are clips of Polley inside a studio listening to the person she grew up believing was her father tell his side of this story. Just watching her reaction to some of these spoken words was incredibly touching. Also, just being able to see how different person tells the same story and what impact this had on them at the time they heard it was something fascinating. Usually many people might ask what makes Polley's story so special that we, the viewer, should invest time in listening to it. I think what makes STORIES WE TELL so fascinating is her story itself really isn't unlike any story we've probably got in our own closet. By hearing Polley's story you really start to think about some of your own stories and how many of them might be true or lies. Polley has made a name for herself with some pretty good indie dramas but this film here is certainly her crowning achievement so far.
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