7.5/10
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56 user 179 critic

Stories We Tell (2012)

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2:32 | Trailer
A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers.

Director:

Sarah Polley

Writers:

Sarah Polley, Michael Polley (narration)
24 wins & 42 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 January 2013 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

Stories We Tell See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,053, 12 May 2013

Gross USA:

$1,600,145

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,641,053
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sarah collected all the stories first. She went through all the period footage she had available. After that, she hired actors to recreate and reenact bits filmed on 8mm to complete the missing period footage. This explains why there is always "proof" of all the raconteurs stories. It works rather as flashbacks to place us in situation. See more »

Quotes

Himself - Storyteller: The crucial function of art is to find the truth.
See more »

Connections

Features Marriage Italian Style (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Horses! Horses! Horses!
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

One of the Best Films You're Going to See
13 June 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Stories We Tell (2012)

**** (out of 4)

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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