Stories We Tell Review

I have to admit, I was not in love with STORIES WE TELL. I loved the idea for the film, but upon viewing I thought that it fell short. The story dragged on slowly and I was having trouble becoming attached the the characters. Maybe this was because I felt it was too specific and not relatable. It seemed more like a video made for the purpose of the filmmakers than for the purpose of the audience. The portrait created by Sarah Polley of her parents is certainly a tender one. The heartwarming factor of this film is undeniable, and Polley takes meticulous labor in her film style to mirror the labour of her parent’s love for one another.

I did enjoy the look of the film, which combined Super 8 footage and faux home movies in with her genuine archive material. The film, with all its images, fragments and layers, is seemingly a controlled emotional explosion.

Her mother was a free spirit and due to Sarah’s mother’s death, the question remained whose Sarah’s father was. The film adds interviews with Polley’s siblings and her mother’s surviving friends.

The questions we are left with at the end of the film bothered me, as for me, the film did not answer the central question. It seemed to be a way for Polley to relieve her emotions artistically but was left very open-ended. Did Diane find happiness? In the end this question truly can never be answered.


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