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.
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…
Weekend rewatch reminds me how cleverly layered Polley's Stories We Tell is. Such an excellent play with documentary form and fit to theme.
I liked this movie the first time I saw it (quite a bit in fact), but on rewatch, I think it just might be perfect. Just a great, emotionally resonant story told magnificently.
What a great doc! And fascinating and interesting flow and editing choices!!!
Made me feel like I was at a boring family party, listening to my family talk about distant cousins I didn't really care about. Also, the guy with King Triton hair is the real dad.
A must see
Sarah Polley's documentary investigating the backstory of her family, mostly her mother, and to a point herself, it's a fascinating reflexion on memory, relationships, the perception of the past and ultimately storytelling itself.
Definitely a must see
Stories We Tell is deceptively simple at first. It's a complex film about how we construct meaning from stories and how complicated our relationships are. The participants in the film are startlingly honest and it gradually constructs the picture all while exposing the way that the story is being told. At the heart of the film is a person who is gone and the film fills the empty space with stories and reflections about Diane Polley who was a remarkable woman. I've watched the film many times and it remains powerful and beautiful.
wonderful structural and aesthetic decisions from beginning to end
The most personal documentary I’ve ever seen, still manages to make a universal point about families and perception. Top 10 stuff.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
who gives a shit?
it actually made me care a little, but not enough....
In my opinion, of course!
And only including films that I've seen.
Hardly in order after the top fifty.
The Dissolve recently released their picks for The 50 Best Films of the Decade, Letterboxd'ized here for my benefit (and…