Stories We Tell by Kinloch Anstiss

Sarah Polley exposes her family history, in particular the legacy of her mother, in a way that is heartfelt, funny and very very smart. That is the story she tells, but what does it really expose? What is true? What is truth?

Polley’s film is ostensibly a documentary, but the truths it reveals are often somewhat subjective. Which are the truest? There are differing points of view presented and the film addresses the art of storytelling as much as the story at hand. While this is an interesting angle, I found the conclusion somewhat forced. I felt Polley was making more of some small conflicts than they warranted.

However, the film is quite remarkable. I loved the way in which the pieces slowly fall into place. Polley leads us down a path open enough to be friendly, but obscured enough to keep us guessing where we are going. Her timing is perfect as she sets up clues one by one then surprises us with the answers.

Her story is a fascinating one that endears the viewer to her. Then, after captivating us with the story she seizes the opportunity to really mess with the viewer’s mind.

See this film for the unique experience of a genre that has not yet been named. I found the film’s message less enlightening than I had hoped, but nonetheless loved it and thoroughly enjoyed its unique style.

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