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Stories We Tell

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Stories We Tell - 28/6/2013 6:02:26 PM   
Empire Admin


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Stores We Tell - 28/6/2013 6:02:26 PM   


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Showing a level of talent at an early age, Canadian actress Sarah Polley has, in recent years, a talent at directing with her Oscar-nominated Away from Her and the brilliant relationship-complex drama Take This Waltz. For her third directorial feature, she goes in a more personal direction by documenting her family which had a very secretive past, specifically surrounding her late mother Diane.

With a title like Stories We Tell, narrative is one of the central themes of the piece as Polley interviews several members of her family, including her father who has a key role, as they give their own perspectives on the story that begins with Diane Polley. Continuing a trend of documentaries where a lot of the story details would be considered a major spoiler, Stories We Tell is best approached for an audience by going in completely cold.

Like last year’s The Imposter, there is a sense that Polley’s documentary blurs the line between reality and fiction as a lot of the film is presented in Super 8 footage which is clearly home videos of the Polley family as well as interactions with friends. However, as the film progresses, it is discovered that a lot of the Super 8 footage are brilliant reconstructions by Sarah Polley, based on the interviewees’ memories. This is a clever device that is so anti to the conventional documentary as it is playing with the reality as one single interpretation can differ to everyone else’s, so just when you thought that you’ve understood the whole picture, another twist is revealed and you get completely off guard.

Although as director, Polley doesn’t present herself as the star of the piece and lets her family be the storytellers who are very likeable people that are honest about their past as well as addressing their own flaws, such as all three Polley sisters being divorced. However, the most compelling figure being interviewed as Sarah’s father Michael whose life is so fascinating with his early career as a stage actor and a promising talent as a writer, but eventually giving it all up when becoming a father. As well as being interviewed, he applies narration to the film which is based on his own writing about his family’s secret and lies.

While Diane Polley is seen only in the Super 8 videos, her presence looms large while her secrets make Sarah Polley’s documentary/love letter to her parents a compelling watch.

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Self indulgent tosh - 7/11/2013 9:58:08 PM   
david hayes


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A young girl's vanity project that somehow made it to the big screen

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