In my opinion, of course!
And only including films that I've seen.
Hardly in order after the top fifty.
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…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Having heard rumors about the fact that the film was not quite what it looks like at first glance, I found myself being much more caught up in discovering the "twist" of the tale rather than in the tale itself, which, although emotionally interesting, didn't really compel me that much. I had doubts about the home video material from the beginning, because there are pointers and because this sort of misleading "evidence" has become almost a trope in some places (e. g. German film "This Ain't California"), but as the film was winding down and there was lots of on-the-nose contemplation about truth and storytelling, I was already willing to accept that the footage was probably real - and it…
Gets a little too philosophical in the last twenty minutes but otherwise as engrossing and worthy of all the praise.
This is a strong portrait of a family told in a pretty interesting style but to be honest with you, given the hype and my admiration for these kinds of personal perspective documentaries, I was hoping for a bit more. At every turn there was just a couple of choices that I though have made it a bit more compelling narrative, perhaps from restructuring the story or removing the stop and go narration from Polley's "father". This could be one of those times where the burden of expectations unfairly weigh a film down - I'm sorry if that is the case.
An almost 2 hour long documentary on a subject that isn't interesting enough to warrant a half-hour tv special. I've got family stories more interesting than Sarah Polley's but I'm not narcissistic enough to want to make a feature film out of them. Strongly disliked this one.
Sarah Polley's directorial work focuses on fractured relationships. Away from Her (2006) shows the effects of Alzheimer's on a long-term commitment, Take This Waltz (2011) is about a young couple who experience a crisis, and her third feature film explores the brokenness in her own family.
Twenty years after her mother died, Polley discovered she was the child of an affair her mother had while acting in a play in Montreal.
Through interviews with the man she grew up thinking was her father, her siblings, her mother's friends, and her biological father, Polley chronicles the effect this long-buried secret had on her family.
It's a fascinating and painfully honest exploration of why we deceive the ones we love, how we…
Director Sarah Polley’s deeply personal documentary about her family history, as well as her own discovery of her true identity exudes with intelligence, warmth, and sincerity. Polley examines her family’s past through each storytelling by her loved ones who are all then connected to the life of a woman—their mother. This clever exercise of memory gives a thought-provoking, and deeply insightful message about human relationships. In the film, everyone has their own story of what they perceived and it’s interesting how Polley put all these intimate conversations into one larger, riveting picture. Overall, Stories We Tell is one gem that is both invigorating and revelatory.
Endlessly enthralling documentary about the nature of family, perspective and storytelling. Director/subject Sarah Polley manages stay mostly impartial as she has her father tell the story of her family as well as interviewing family members and friends on their own perspectives on that same subject. Through those traditional doc elements and the use of home video footage the melds with other bits of recreation, we see how often memory and perspective changes or contorts stories. Everyone has their own ideas on how things went, yet no one is put at fault for it. The ultimate point of all of these testimonies isn't that any single one is directly right or wrong. It's that these are stories that mean something to people. That everyone has their own version of history and that it's important to realize how often people's perceptions affect others, for better or worse.
In short, Stories We Tell is a documentary about, at first, two things: Sarah Polley's mother and a secret of their family. Polley, the director and writer, also worked on Take This Waltz and Away From Her, but completely changed her work with Stories We Tell.
However, as you might be able to guess from its title, this isn't purely an account of her POV of the events. Polley interviewed all family members and parties involved with her mother and this secret, in a way that the very narrative of Stories We Tell becomes multiple, meta and jointed.
At some point, late in the movie, several people actually begin to write their own version of the story; not because…
Can someone please tell me why this is considered a great documentary?
In my opinion, of course!
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