Stories We Tell is an interesting project movie told as a documentary about how different members of the same family who can have different views of the same turn of events. Each individual sees things slightly differently.
Sarah Polley directs her first work in which she tells the story through the eyes of different people, of Diane a woman who was popular in her friendship group, a loving mother, and on the whole a lot of fun. Beneath this exterior though lies a terrible secret that Diane’s daughter discovers as the story is told, the story effects everything that Diane’s daughter has come to know, for Sarah Polley the story comes very close to home, because Diane was her mother.
Stories We Tell is utterly fascinating, a compelling tale in the life of one family. It’s a family you almost feel you have lived with by the time the story is told. You see the high’s the lows, handle the sadness of Diane’s death, and somehow participate in the beauty of discovery, as if the story involves you.
Polley does a phenomenal job as a first time director, delivering her incredibly likeable, flawed but kind family to the public. The film is incredibly well pieced together, the strands of time aided with re-enacted 8mm film, like the sort of films her father used to make to record their lives during the 70’s and 80’s. It’s almost magical the way that her father Michael admits to his terrible flaws, and shows how the passage of time can affect an individual, their views and how they act moving forward.
Where the film does fall down is in the final twenty minutes, it’s a time that is filled with false endings and to be honest becomes a little bit self-indulgent. It’s a sad turn of events because unfortunately it taints everything that went before. You feel the story has reached its conclusion, yet somehow it manages to go on, and on, and on, and in these final moments mainly of Michael and Sarah discussing facts, nothing new is bought to the table. Effectively you have twenty minutes of reflective dialogue, that does nothing to the end result, and it’s these final moments that will stay with the audience rather sadly for long after the movie ends.
Stories We Tell is in selected UK cinema's from 28th of June.