Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Film Review: "Stories We Tell"

Sarah Polley, a well off Canadian director takes her skills to the next level with this unique documentary staring her own family. At first, "Stories We Tell" is a family-tree detective story, then a playful and loose movie, then a maternal melodrama. Along the way, it weaves strong feelings through storytelling and truth. That it never behaves as expected is fair warning that you have to see the film for yourself. Polley gathers generations of family members to assemble a portrait of her mom, Diane, an actor who died when Sarah was 11 and, depending on who’s asked, may have been tirelessly or restlessly frustrated. Although you are lead to believe that the film is surrounded around the early death of her mother, Diane, the film slowly turns its attention to how each member of the family portrayed their connection to the story. Overlapping the interviews are flashbacks using videos taken of her mother while she was alive. The shots are average home videos, but really add to the descriptions of the characteristics of Diane Polley. Each interview is casually set and lighting design carefully chosen. As to not give away the plot and life story of the Polley family, I'll leave that part for you to watch. In all, this brilliant documentary showcases a unique type of documentary that keeps the audience captured in its story, humor, and aesthetics.

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