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Saturday, January 05, 2013

Sean Kelly

Canada’s Top Ten: My Thoughts on Stories We Tell

storieswetellSarah Polley has been in the spotlight for pretty much her entire life.  She began as a child actress and is known by many for her role on the CBC series Road to Avonlea.  As an adult, she was one known for mostly indie and Canadian films (aside from a starring role in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake) and eventually moved on into directing. 

For her third film, Stories We Tell, Polley turns the camera on herself and her family and reveals some skeletons from the closet, involving Polley’s mother, that she herself only recently discovered.  While the big revelation of the film is probably common knowledge by now, the film is best seen with you knowing as little as possible about the story that is being told in this documentary.

Structurally, the film has many layers to itself.  On its surface, the film is your standard talking heads documentary, with  interviews with Polley’s family members and acquaintances.  However, the film also makes heavy use of archival footage and re-enactments to illustrate the story that is being told.  On top of that, the breaks the fourth wall somewhat and makes the fact that Polley decided to make a documentary of her discoveries part of the “plot” of the film.  In fact, the film frequently incorporates Super-8 footage showing Polley making the film.  Also, the film is built around the narration of Polley’s father and frequently cuts to him recording the narration in the studio.

When it comes to interesting stories, not many people stop to consider the story of their own lives, which tend to be the most interesting of all.  Stories We Tell is a very candid look into the history of Sarah Polley and her family and it turns out to be a quite touching portrayal.  I thought that this was truly an excellent documentary, which gets quite emotional by the end.  I would highly recommend checking it out if you can.

10 | LOVED IT  

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).