We all know that every family has its own drama, secrets and perspective. Stories We Tell
is Sarah Polley’s layered, thoughtful exploration of this idea, in which she turns the lens on her own family. Polley (who has directed features like Take This Waltz
and helms her first documentary here) goes on a journey to investigate secrets about her mother, Diane, who died of cancer when Polley was 11. Polley gathers her four siblings, her father and others who knew her mother to “start from the beginning.” Their recollections create a colorful picture of Diane and her life, often accompanied by Super-8 footage—shot to look like home video but staged by Polley—that brings an illustrative charm to the film. As more than one secret unfolds, Stories We Tell
wisely allows the family’s humorous and emotional moments to peek through. “What are you, some kind of sadistic interviewer?” her father, Michael, half jokes at one point. It’s moments like these, when we see not talking heads but family members piecing together a mystery, that unite the past and present to make the film so engaging.