Stories We Tell


1h 49m 2012
Stories We Tell

Brief Synopsis

Filmmaker and actress Sarah Polley explores the nature of memory and storytelling while making a documentary on her own family. Focused on her late mother Diane's infidelities, we observe the intimate relationship politics of the Polley family. What comes to the fore is the imperfect marriage of Pol

Film Details

Also Known As
Apáim története, Histoires qu'on raconte, Historie rodzinne, Les Histoires qu'on raconte
MPAA Rating
Release Date
2012
Production Company
National Film Board Of Canada
Distribution Company
MONGREL MEDIA/M+TROPOLE FILMS DISTRIBUTION/ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS; A-Film Distribution ; Angel Films (Denmark) ; Arthaus (Norway) ; Curzon Artificial Eye ; Folkets Bio ; Gutek Film Sp. Z O.O. ; Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment ; Lionsgate ; Mongrel Media ; Mongrel Media ; Mozinet ; Métropole Films Distribution ; Métropole Films Distribution ; Palace Films ; Roadside Attractions

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 49m

Synopsis

Filmmaker and actress Sarah Polley explores the nature of memory and storytelling while making a documentary on her own family. Focused on her late mother Diane's infidelities, we observe the intimate relationship politics of the Polley family. What comes to the fore is the imperfect marriage of Polley's parents which leads to questions about her paternity and questions about her place within the family clan.

Film Details

Also Known As
Apáim története, Histoires qu'on raconte, Historie rodzinne, Les Histoires qu'on raconte
MPAA Rating
Release Date
2012
Production Company
National Film Board Of Canada
Distribution Company
MONGREL MEDIA/M+TROPOLE FILMS DISTRIBUTION/ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS; A-Film Distribution ; Angel Films (Denmark) ; Arthaus (Norway) ; Curzon Artificial Eye ; Folkets Bio ; Gutek Film Sp. Z O.O. ; Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment ; Lionsgate ; Mongrel Media ; Mongrel Media ; Mozinet ; Métropole Films Distribution ; Métropole Films Distribution ; Palace Films ; Roadside Attractions

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 49m

Articles

Stories We Tell


Actress-writer-director Sarah Polley has never had difficulty telling the truth, just like the spunky little heroine Sally Salt that she played as a child actor in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). Disney executives couldn’t persuade Polley to remove a peace symbol for a public appearance during the First Gulf War, and in 2017 her outspoken remarks on the #MeToo movement didn’t stop with individual offenders: “Harvey Weinstein may be the central-casting version of a Hollywood predator, but he was just one festering pustule in a diseased industry.”

Sarah Polley’s writing and directing achievements in Away from Her (2006) and Alias Grace (2017) display her mature talents, and her 2012 documentary Stories We Tell is an even more astonishing case of cinematic truth-telling. Through family interviews and recreations filmed to look like home movies, Polley probes intimate relationships within her family history, such as the sad death of her mother when Sarah was 11. The film’s news-making revelation about Polley’s own birth was confirmed by a DNA test when Sarah was a young adult.

The daringly candid Film Board of Canada production is not an exposé, despite unfolding like a fictional mystery. The central subject is instead the myth-making that was the norm in a family of storytellers and truth-embellishers. The false home movies are completely convincing; Polley chose the actors for their resemblance to her friends and family members at younger ages. Polley’s paternity was kept a close secret until the premiere, a surprise that made Stories We Tell an instant festival sensation. The filmmaker’s revealing ‘investigation of her own life’ won a prodigious number of awards, including a Writer’s Guild award and a $100,000 prize from the Toronto Film Critics Association.

by Glenn Erickson

Stories We Tell

Stories We Tell

Actress-writer-director Sarah Polley has never had difficulty telling the truth, just like the spunky little heroine Sally Salt that she played as a child actor in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). Disney executives couldn’t persuade Polley to remove a peace symbol for a public appearance during the First Gulf War, and in 2017 her outspoken remarks on the #MeToo movement didn’t stop with individual offenders: “Harvey Weinstein may be the central-casting version of a Hollywood predator, but he was just one festering pustule in a diseased industry.”Sarah Polley’s writing and directing achievements in Away from Her (2006) and Alias Grace (2017) display her mature talents, and her 2012 documentary Stories We Tell is an even more astonishing case of cinematic truth-telling. Through family interviews and recreations filmed to look like home movies, Polley probes intimate relationships within her family history, such as the sad death of her mother when Sarah was 11. The film’s news-making revelation about Polley’s own birth was confirmed by a DNA test when Sarah was a young adult.The daringly candid Film Board of Canada production is not an exposé, despite unfolding like a fictional mystery. The central subject is instead the myth-making that was the norm in a family of storytellers and truth-embellishers. The false home movies are completely convincing; Polley chose the actors for their resemblance to her friends and family members at younger ages. Polley’s paternity was kept a close secret until the premiere, a surprise that made Stories We Tell an instant festival sensation. The filmmaker’s revealing ‘investigation of her own life’ won a prodigious number of awards, including a Writer’s Guild award and a $100,000 prize from the Toronto Film Critics Association.by Glenn Erickson

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Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Limited Release in United States May 10, 2013

Limited Release in United States May 17, 2013

Limited Release in United States May 10, 2013 (New York)

Limited Release in United States May 17, 2013 (New York)

Released in United States on Video September 3, 2013

Released in United States 2012

Released in United States on Video September 3, 2013

Released in United States 2013 (Spotlight)

Released in United States 2012 (Shows)

Released in United States 2013 (Official Selection)

Released in United States 2013

Released in United States 2013 (Documentaries)