Sarah Polley is something. Sarah Polley attracts me for her resilience and at the same time reservedness she evokes in the room, she doesn't let herself be known that easily. And I admire Sarah Polley for her work. Apparently, she always seem to know what she wants to do or maybe it's about her instincts being mostly great and refined, whether it's in fiction or in this Stories We Tell, which is a non fiction narrative.
Stories We Tell borns with her need to rediscover her family, to rediscover her family history. In particular, the focus seems to be on her mother and who her father is. But she doesn't come and just tells a story about her family. She uses her family as she uses herself, but she also uses the tools of narrative to make this documentary a level greater and incredibly touching. And it is so well done for that matter.
It really is a family of storytellers, especially her father and her biological father, their eloquently wise words, their unique souls, their romanticism bring another level to this documentary, and it wouldn’t be so great if she hadn't been intelligent enough to use it. But then it’s also so incredibly revealing as the film goes and to see each different personality coming to the surface, her sister who is always with a smile on her face, one brother who is constantly being sarcastic and another brother who seems to be the tough one and turns out to be the most fragile and touched by the history of his family. I said earlier that the focus seems to be on her mother, but as the film evolves and we gradually began to witness the transition of her mother to her father, it’s so touching to see her father becoming the center of the story, sort of the star. She gives him a tribute, to this wonderful, lonely literary man. Sarah uses their poetism with generosity and intelligence because it makes this film so incredibly beautiful.
Stories We Tell starts with Sarah Polley's need to know the story of her mother, of her family, through each one's perspectives, brothers and sisters and the few other people involved, after a journalist sort of warns her he will make public who her biological father is. And then it turns out to be a story about the dynamics of memory and the feelings we experience about remembering someone and something and sometimes our needs to be something else, something that may distort the inner thoughts and truths. It's incredible.