Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell investigates the mystery surrounding her mother, Diane, a woman who meant a lot to many people and fell to cancer far too young. The film interviews and interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, giving the viewer this type of family mythology that shifts from recollection to nostalgia in an attempt to understand her own families past, but even more importantly how memory and perception fuel many of the stories that make up our lives. Stories We Tell is an incredibly personal and intimate look into Sarah's personal life, never shying away from the most acute details. The film is structured in a simple but very effective way with various interview footage inter-cut against stock/b-roll footage in a way that's fluid and emotionally resonant. These dated images which are juxtaposed with the interview dialogue are very beautiful and down-right poetic in how they effectively capture the emotion involved. I really liked how the details which make up the story of her family aren't displayed in a linear-specific way, instead unfolding like any story being told with an almost circular motion going back and forth in time as more details are revealed. The heart of the story is centered around the love triangle between Sarah's mother, Diane, her biological father, Henry, and Michael, the man who raised her as his own. This relationship is explored in great detail but I think what makes this film so special is simply how unbiased or opinionated it truly is. Each of the characters have their own opinions, some stronger than others, yet the film never wavers from being neutral. Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell is an emotionally potent study of how we remember the stories of our past, capturing how memory and perception play a big part in us creating our own truth.
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