What begins as a cinematic search for her mother who died when Polley was only 11 becomes a kind of family detective story delving into long-buried secrets about the filmmaker herself. Mixing interviews with archival footage and dramatizations, Polley explores the very nature of family and the conspiracy we enter into in order to protect the bonds we cherish with our loved ones.
As Polley interrogates each of her subjects in turn, contradictory accounts emerge, and longstanding efforts to hide some painful truths eventually become futile.
The “stories we tell” — that all families tell in one way or another — turn out to obscure as much as they reveal, and the whole idea of the purpose of narrative is called into question in a way that is both fascinating and poignant.
STAFF PICK: "Emotional, intimate and incredibly innovative. One of the most unique documentary experiences you will ever have." —Ravi
Silvia Basmajian, Anita Lee
Stories We Tell is filmed and set in Ontario. Sarah Polley is from Ontario.