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
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. Excellently done. See more »
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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Not at all what the reviewers appear to think it is
I saw this film as part of a month-long series of documentaries at my local public library. Throughout the film, I was struck by the seeming incredible luck that the director had in having access to so much timely and relevant Super 8 movie footage of the family in their younger days. That all became moot when, near the end of the closing film credits, it is revealed that every single member of the family in past and present was portrayed by an actor. In effect, it is not a true documentary at all but the very well written and directed retelling of someone else's family story. The audience at the viewing I attended had much the same reaction--thinking that we had just been taken for a very elaborate ride.
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