Winston Churchill said “History is written by the victors.” and one advantage of the victors is to add narration, and guide interpretations of the past. Great story telling not only entertains, but it can subtly persuade. Each storyteller adds their own narrative and highlights their version of the truth in a sea of confusing issues, and opinions. In Stories We Tell the power of a single narrative and the confusing nature of multiple narratives is only one of the themes explored.
Writer/Director Sarah Polley points the documentary lens into her own family’s past to bring understanding about her charismatic yet somewhat mysterious mother. What started as a family joke about her being the only blond among dark headed siblings and parents, turns into an investigation of her mother who died when she was eleven. Fact are uncovered, many versions of the truth, and many conflicting stories detail the subjective nature of experiences, and personal bias.
Stories We Tell is an in-depth investigation of the facts, lies, and innuendoes that have shaped Sarah’s family and her life. With a deft hand she interviews her family, and her mother’s old friends and confidants. These people’s memories are dusted off with tact and sensitivity, and in the end you find you are invested in their story, and have affection and compassion for her, her family, and everyone involved. [rating=3]
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving sexuality, brief strong language and smoking.