"If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance."
~ George Bernard Shaw
In Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley exhumes those skeletons from her family's closet, and they dance in the most beautiful way. Alternatively, her family secrets are not so much skeletons but embalmed corpses—you don't want them in your presence, but there's a twisted beauty about them. The film is a cathartic work that taps into the innately human desire to divulge; to tell stories. There's a point in the film where Polley mulls over her aspirations for the film. There was a point where Stories We Tell was just a story, and Polley didn't know whether to make a documentary for public release, a home movie, or an art project. I am glad she went with a documentary because it turned out very well, but any format would have reflected that human need to document. When extraordinary things happen to us, it is only natural to want to tell someone. In some cases it may be egotistical, but it's mostly a matter of captivating your audience with wide-eyed wonder.
Steven Savona rewatched
It's about fear and delusion. A poisonous folie à deux plays out in this flawed though frightening film. The performances from Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd are two of the most convincing I have seen in any film. I would have liked it even more if the execution was less stagy. I realise the film is based on a play, but this shows too much.
Haneke strips sex of its intimacy, depicting it as a series of cold power plays. It's a meditation on expectation versus reality, and how we fall in love with the idea of a person. The film is slow and I found myself getting restless at times, but the characters are so multi-faceted that I couldn't help but be entranced.
As someone who is tired of seeing the same themes and tropes recycled in Australian cinema, THE LOVED ONES loomed as something refreshing. However, this desire to break free from the conventions of Australian cinema is what ultimately sullies the film. I can't remember the last time I saw a film that was so desperate for the validation of its audience. It seemed to be crying, "LOOK HOW SUBVERSIVE I AM!"
The atmosphere just never feels right. The film is too aware of its grotesqueness and there is no nuance to anything. I also had no reason to empathise with the Xavier Samuel character. We just don't get to know him enough before he is seized by the sadistic Lola.
I suggest you do not show this film to your loved ones. They will disown you.