Opening in theatres from director/writer Sarah Polley and Roadside Attractions comes a riveting look at the mysteries and histories of families with STORIES WE TELL.
This film tells the story of Polley herself as she interviews her families in regards to their history and remembrances. What is woven together is an intricate story of her mother, father and siblings and they way each answers similar questions.
The recollections are shifted and held up by photographs of their mother who passed when the children were still young. As seems to happen in families, once a parent has gone there are so many questions that only that parent truly has.
That is until Polley discovers the complications, the stories that shift and the truths that are very personal, very defining and very unexpected in her own family circle.
FINAL WORD: From the moment the film begins it is striking in the way Polley chose to tell this very personal story. What started out as innocent questions about a family’s history takes a turn when one simple family joke is played out.
Each avenue she explores brings more and more interest with the hope that Polley doesn’t end up hurt – at least for me. Every family has questions but some choose to leave the stories unexamined. Polley does no such thing but instead honestly wants to hear the recollections that each person involved in her mother’s life has.
The twists and turns of suspense are a nice touch because it truly got me thinking along with her journey. The mixture of actual family members talking and reenactments is totally brilliant and so well done it was easy to forget I wasn’t looking as long lost family footage.
But it is the emotions that come with the unraveling that gripped my heart. The family seems to have embraced that Mom was not just their mother – but also a flawed human being who still loved them. That is, as a mother myself, all that I can hope my own children will discover about me when I’m gone. Thanks Polley for giving this viewer that remarkable hope.
Also including: Pixie Bigelow, Deirdre Bowen, Geoffrey Bowes, John Buchan, Susy Buchan, Tom Butler, Cathy Gulkin, Robert Macmillan, Victoria Mitchell, Harry Gulkin, Andrew Church as Geoffrey Bowes, Peter Evans as Michael Polley, Justin Goodhand as John Buchan, Alex Hatz as Harry Bulkin, Rebecca Jenkins as Diane Polley.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give STORIES WE TELL three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is an interesting look at families and all through out the film I kept thinking, “gawd, the secrets that would come out if I had the courage to do this”. We all have family skeletons, stories that are remembered one way and are actually quite another. We each remember things in many cases as we wished them to be and not how they truly are.
In the end – in the core of the stories lives a family.
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