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Stories We Tell

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Canada · 2012
Rated PG-13 · 1h 48m
Director Sarah Polley
Starring Michael Polley, Harry Gulkin, Susy Buchan, John Buchan
Genre Documentary

In this crafty documentary, filmmaker Sarah Polley interviews members of her family as they look back on decades-old events, unveil closely guarded secrets, and remember Sarah's beloved, elusive mother. Through her investigations, Sarah discovers that the truth behind her family's mythology depends on who's telling it.

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What are critics saying?


The Hollywood Reporter by

This playfully complex and gently slippery analysis of memory and personal narrative manages to engage us in what's essentially the private business, some might even say the dirty laundry, of total strangers.

75 by Amanda May Meyncke

This funny and touching film could do with a bit of editing. It tends to drag a bit, especially near the end, and though we’re privy to the thoughts and feelings of Polley’s family, we’re given scant verbalized insight into her own thinking.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Stories We Tell marks the finest of Polley's filmmaking skills by blending intimacy and intrigue to remarkable effect.


Variety by Guy Lodge

The alternately playful and elegiac Stories We Tell is wholly of a piece with her fiction work, and just as rewarding.


Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

Polley has gone further into the thorny subject of forgiveness than any of her peers. Her movies ache with ethical quandary; Stories We Tell aches the most.


The Playlist by Oliver Lyttelton

Fans of Polley’s work to date will be delighted by a documentary that serves simultaneously as a gripping mystery, a moving record of a family and a fascinating investigation into the nature of truth, memory, and the documentary form itself.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

Polley tackles painful issues with candour and tact. She has a gripping tale to tell. It's a film that raises questions about the ownership of memory and ownership of narrative.

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