POSTED May 30 2013

Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell”

Sarah Polley behind the camera

Sarah Polley behind the camera

How do you describe Sarah Polley’s multilayered home movie Stories We Tell? The actress/director’s potent cine-memoir ostensibly is about her mother, Diane, who died of cancer when the Canadian child star (Ramona, Avonlea) was 11. In the 20-odd years since Polley, as she distinguished herself as a mature actress (Go, Guinevere, The Sweet Hereafter) and filmmaker (Away from Her, Take This Waltz), heard rumors about her paternity that get explored in this singular piece of storytelling simultaneously ¬†a docu-mama and a where’s-poppa tale.

You can read my review here, in which I liken Polley’s film to recentish documentaries such as Nathaniel Kahn’s My Architect¬†and Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation, like-minded films that reconstruct the lives of unavailable parents. Better yet, see the film which opens tomorrow in Philadelphia.

Can you think of other documentary cine-memoirs?


  1. Gary says:

    Agnes Varda’s THE BEACHES OF AGNES. Arguably the best cine-memoir ever!

    • admin says:

      Great choice, even though it sidesteps some of the family stuff that Polley and Kahn confront head-on.

  2. Miz Val says:

    How about the HBO movie Cinema Verite (TV 2011) which was
    based on the 1973 PBS TV show “An American Family”
    Another TV show “Shameless” not real but it could be! Then there is always “The Ice Storm”, “American Beauty” and “The Descendants”

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