The best that cinema has had to offer since 2000 as picked by 177 film critics from around the world.…
Stories We Tell
Filmmaker Sarah Polley interviews members of her family as they look back on decades-old events.
This movie was even more beautifully sad than watching a guy on the subway ride home eat an entire Papa John's pizza by himself.
And let me tell you my friends, that was a mighty sad sight (he was using the dipping sauce -- or at least that's how I remember it).
Stories We Tell is a moving and incredibly candid family portrait as filmmaker, Sarah Polley, explores the mysteries surrounding her mother. Beginning as a rather traditional biography of her late mother it gradually transforms into a far richer documentary that touches on identity, memory, the fallibility of truth and the power of storytelling to create a deeply personal yet universal work.
As with all the best stories it is better to experience Stories We Tell with as little prior knowledge as possible. Yet whilst the film’s narrative takes a series of surprising diversions and features several revelations there is something refreshingly ordinary about this personal discovery. One of the contributors even questions why other people would be interested in their…
The only way this movie could have been more made for me is if the opening credits included a dedication that read: "This movie was made for Adam Kempenaar."
Full discussion available here.
A few notes that didn't make it into the conversation:
- A perfectly Polley-esque touch that I failed to mention about my autobiographical short film... My wife, then girlfriend, played the younger version of my mom.
- A key to the success of this film, I believe, is Polley's obvious fairness, generosity of spirit and lack of guile. Everything we see is a capital-C construct with her as the puppet master, but there's no overriding sense of calculation that might come through with other directors. It's all…
Completely riveted by Polley's reconstruction of a family secret from multiple angles until the degree to which she was aestheticizing her life became clear. At a certain point, she comes out and tells us the themes of the documentary—in that respect, the last 20 minutes of the film are like the psychiatrist scene in Psycho.
"i swatted my fly!"
yes. unremarkable by nature, remarkable by design. Kiarostami 101, but indelibly articulates schism of being / remembering.
works in spite of itself, at times. but then again, don't we all?
also, it may not really count, but Polley includes what i'd like to consider to be the greatest credits stinger of all time.
2014 is turning out to be a rather meagre year for music in my opinion, but one of the albums that does stand out thus far is How To Dress Well’s ‘What Is This Heart?’ One of my favourite songs on the album ends with the following utterance: “A truth like that that opens up, kind of begets other truths, and when you discover truths like that, how you think about truths within that are concealed, it does sort of make you alter the way that you look within, and that opens up.” Little did I know that this quote was taking from ‘Stories We Tell’, a 2012 autobiographical documentary in which director Sarah Polley interviews her father(s), sisters, brother…
The story how the famous actress and director found her father is a real tear jerker. But I was missing some crucial dialogs between the figures among themselves. All interviews are confrontational, no scene between the two men was filmed. This would have helped immensely as both are exceptional rational and loving folks.
"Love is so short; forgetting is so long."
If you're ever worried you might be oversharing, watch Sarah Polley's immaculate 2012 documentary, Stories We Tell, in which the incisively intelligent, staggeringly honest writer-director of Take This Waltz lays bare her family's history while telling the story of her late mother, Diane.
Like her earlier film, it's a movie that talks about things we know and recognise and are terrified by, and yet rarely discuss: the centrality of sex to everything, the difficulties and disappointments of relationships, and the often irresistible attractions that threaten to sever those crucial ties, perhaps irreparably. It's a film about secrets, about stories, about a search for identity, about the way we manufacture narratives to make sense of our memories and our lives.
Beautiful documentary on how we remember our own personal stories and family stories. This is how Sarah Polley makes sense of the mother she never got to know.
It shines a light on all of our stories. Everyone has a story to tell and many in our lives have different stories to tell along the way.
It really makes me want to interview my parents before they're gone.
Beautiful and haunting. Sarah's family is so charming and down-to-earth. So fun.
Michael Pollys writing & narration really took hold of me, right from the start. Playing with storytelling techniques, and tricky editing, Stories We Tell played out wonderfully woven through decades and people. The story doesn't quite add up with the running time but the emotional impact is heavy. Watch hungover for better dramatic effect.
One of the most affecting docs I have ever seen. Beautiful and enlightening.
What a profound, multi-layered, intimate yet universal, often funny and consistently moving film this is.
"Why is it that we talk and talk without somehow conveying what we're really like?"
What a cheesy movie.
Even though I mostly knew what this was about going in, I was still thoroughly impressed. Sarah Polley went above and beyond to make this really something.
I've seen a quite a few films directed/co-directed by women, so here are my top 100 films, loosely ranked and…
films directed by women, in chronological order. always in progress.