EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|STORIES WE TELL (director/writer: Sarah Polley; cinematographer: Iris Ng; editor: Michael Munn; music: Jonathan Goldsmith; cast: John Buchan, Susy Buchan, Harry Gulkin, Joanna Polley, Mark Polley, Geoff Bowes, Michael Polley); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Anita Lee; Roadside Attractions; 2012-Canada)|
by Dennis Schwartz
Sarah Polley ("Take This Waltz"/"Away
From Her"/"All I Want for Christmas") directs this
fascinating personal documentary about her own Toronto
family and its revealing family secret. Sarah's British-born
father Michael, an actor, writer and insurance
executive, narrates the film, that includes family
friends and Sarah's brothers, John and Mark, and her
sisters, Susy and Joanna, to talk in a
homey setting about their vibrant actress mom Diane
(viewed on home-movies). Diane died in 1990 of cancer
when Sarah, the youngest of the five children, was 11.
The focus of the film is drawn to the question of who
is Sarah's biological father, as she investigates as a
teenager the rumor that mom had an affair in 1978 when
she was on stage in Montreal for two months in the
play titled "Toronto" and left her two children with
Michael in Toronto. A DNA test in 2007, at last, gives
Sarah the certainty of knowing who is her biological
dad. The film's point is that memories can't be
completely trusted when we tell stories about our
lives and how our narratives have a tremendous
influence in how we live our lives.
intelligent candid family film has a profundity about
dealing with life's intimacies, a winsome acerbic
sense of humor, is deeply moving and it paints a
poignant picture of the human condition. The filmmaker
navigates a bumpy course over family matters but films
with care for others while searching for the truth in
the difficult stories that unfold and offers a
sensitivity for telling one's story in a way not to
hurt others no matter the shocks or unexpected that
might pop up. Another filmmaker might not have been as
delicate and compassionate in telling such a story and
thereby not have reached such splendid heights.
REVIEWED ON 7/21/2013 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ