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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Intriguing, but not as emotionally overwhelming for the audience as it is for the storytellers. There is ever so palpable, cold detachment from the story's emotional spine. Maybe, it's because of the lack of perspective of the person who wanted this story to be out there- Sarah Polley herself. You can sense subtle reactions coming from her whenever she is on screen, for however little time, and build her point-of-view in your head. But that would be just another version of story in this baggage of different perspectives. Also, I would rather she hadn't filmed dramatized clips of real-life incidents and trust the audience's imagination.
All that being said, it does not take away anything from the fact that "Stories We Tell" is a fascinating concept. If nothing else, it works as a brilliant think-piece on subjectivity of memories and distorted truth by different perspectives.
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