Over two days, my "Movies To See" list is unspooling on The Dissolve. Here's your chance to check them off,…
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.
"I will go on, I WILL go on...''
It is difficult to find words to express the significance of this work, but it is with no doubt the most wonderful cinematic achievement I have seen this year and as demonstrative of this rollercoaster we call life as I have ever seen on projected on the screen.
Blossoming filmmaker Sarah Polley takes us on a journey into the tangled web of her family life, and the result is deeply personal and emotionally tender even as it brushes against the rawest nerve endings. This is obviously a labour of love and a passion project for Polley, and all I can think of as she pulls back the curtains on her private life…
Very moving glimpse into a very personal story, and how important it is to get a complete picture
Wonderful documentary, completely took me by surprise despite the many good reviews. I didn't expect a story or execution like this at all.
There was a lot of hype for this film. At least, amongst critics. No one I know has actually seen it, apart from me. There wouldn't be too many more who even know who Sarah Polley is. I found this film pretty tedious, to be honest. It took me several goes to finally get this film completely watched. The meta idea of how we tell stories, and the process of a documentary is sort of interesting, but not really interesting here. The story itself, and the so-called revelation, isn't anything particularly fascinating either. Surely most families have something similar. The most compelling character in the whole film is the father that Sarah grew up with her whole life, Michael. How…
A beautiful documentary. I wish I could have heard more from the filmmaker herself.
I'm a bit surprised Stories We Tell received as much praise as it did. It's a fine documentary, and it kept me entertained for the most part (before it starts to drag near the end), but I agree with the sister that says she feels funny about telling the story because should/would anyone care?
I suppose my main critique is that I can only accept the documentary at face value, the story itself, and I can't see it as an investigation on how we tell stories, differing versions of events, etc. While it's true, I don't think the film offers much evidence of such truths. What we do get to see is how people react differently to the same events, which I found interesting.
In the end, a decent documentary, but forgettable and relatively meaningless in the realm of great documentaries.
Sarah Polley manages to manipulate us with her slyness, but after watching this mesmerizing story we don't care. A story meant to be told.
A very candid documentary of director Sarah Polley's mother and family life. Early on her sister claims that she doesn't know who would be interested in this very personal tale, and I agreed with her when she said it, yet by the end I was absolutely invested in the film.
A very classy Jerry Springer episode that goes on 20 minutes too long
Eg vart overraska over kor like fortellingane var - eg hadde trudd filmen skulle utforske meir korleis folk oppfattar sanninga på sin eigen måte, og igjen fortel den enda meir ulikt. Dit gjekk filmen ikkje. Greitt nok det, men kva med historia då? Ikkje fortalt så fengande at det gjer noko, sjølv om dei som pratar har rett i at det er eit godt utgangspunkt. Dette er mest ei tværande framstilling av det som kanskje kunne ha vore ei virkelig god filmfortelling, men kven vil vel ikkje tvære litt når det gjeld sin eigen familie? Det blir litt for internt for min del.
- Beyond the Hills
- Spring Breakers
- Upstream Color
- Stories We Tell
- Before Midnight
- Only God Forgives
- 12 Years a Slave
- The Rover
- Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
- Almayer's Folly
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
- Border Radio
- Gas Food Lodging
A list of films directed by women, in alphabetical order by director. The notes show the director's country, name and…