Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Stories We Tell": Documenting Family Secrets 

Wednesday, May 15 2013
Comments

Where fact-fiction hybrid documentaries are concerned, the game of wondering what's really "true" can too easily degenerate into mere indulgence, leaving behind little more than just those quotation marks. Alternatively, more rarely, it can be a blessed riddle. In Stories We Tell, an exemplar of the form, the perceptive Canadian actor-director Sarah Polley gathers her extended family for a collective documentary remembrance of her late mother, Diane, who in retrospect seemed all too comfortable at the center of so much attention. On the other hand, Diane also had at least one whopper of a family secret, which Polley rather politely but ardently wants to get to the bottom of. On this matter, the rest of the family is both a great help and no help at all. Arguably they incriminate themselves, but Polley's plan isn't to corner anyone; her heart is much too huge for that. Deep within the cozy nostalgic enclaves of bohemian Montreal and Toronto, some thorny questions do come up for Diane's most significant suitors: Polley's sweetly reticent father, Michael, himself also an actor and a writer (at Polley's command, he overlays the film with his own beautifully literate narration of family lore), and Harry Gulkin, a gregarious film producer. Generously, young Ms. Polley presses on, recognizing that what's really at stake is her own origin story, and that sharing it is the best way to validate it.

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

Bio:
SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"