Stories We Tell (2012) – Encore Review


“We have to reconstruct what happened in the past.” – Sarah Polley

Number of Times Seen – Twice (9 Dec 2013 and 8 Sep 2019)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – Actress/Filmmaker Sarah Polley interviews family and friends in order to get the truth about a family secret.

My Take on it – This is a film that I saw not long after it came out and was enthralled by the way that they tell this story.

This is an amazingly fascinating movie that tries to study how it’s possible to tell a story even if the various storytellers each have different viewpoints and perspectives on the events portrayed.

They may all have had a part in the story that took place, but time, memory and so many other factors have made it that much more difficult to try and discover the real truth of what happened.

Having seen this once before and remembering much of what this is all about, it was quite interesting watching it a second time because it allows things to be even more poignant since the viewer can potentially recognize the true reasons that some of these people were chosen to be a part of it.

Despite this being a film that interviews family and friends of Polley, they don;t care of the characters contradict one another (or themselves for that matter) when relaying their perspective of the events  since the fact that human nature is involved, it makes all of the stories less than 100% reliable and possibly untruthful.

The choice to use actors to try and reenact various real events works really well especially since it’s so simple to forget that some of them are actors instead of watching the real story as it happened.

This film is quite bold in its stance on things and they really expose so much about the lives of these characters and interviewees in such a candid and refreshing way.

The story is told quite well and unlike in many other documentaries there are so many twists and turns along the way that constantly keep changing what we might think about the secrets of the past.

This helps the movie gain even more momentum along the way even when the credits begin to roll, they aren’t finished with their surprises.

This is a very enjoyable and compelling movie to watch and it is so impactful no matter how many items one may see this.

Polley needs to make more films since it’s so easy to see that when she has passion for a project, she can deliver in ways one probably won’t expect.

Bottom Line – Such an amazingly fascinating study of how people have different viewpoints and perspectives on events in a shared past that makes it difficult to truly understand the nature of memory and to discover the real truth. The interviews are actually even more poignant on a subsequent viewing of the story since the viewer is more aware of the various roles of all of those that are interviewed and that affects things so much here. Love the way that this film doesn’t care of characters contradict one another (or themselves) with their stories and as candid as this film seems to be, human nature always can get involved in trying to make things even more unreliable when dealing with the truth. The use of actors to enact various historical events works so well that if one isn’t aware that they are actors, it’s so easy to believe that they are real people.  This is such a bold film due to the way that they expose so much about their lives here and the candidness of it all is so refreshing to see.  The story being told unfolds really well and I love how they constantly throw twists and turns into the story as things move along.  The fact that it doesn’t stop when the credits begin to roll says so much about this film and why it is so enjoyable and compelling to watch. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Sarah collected all the stories first. She went through all the period footage she had available. After that, she hired actors to recreate and reenact bits filmed on 8mm to complete the missing period footage. This explains why there is always “proof” of all the raconteurs stories. It works rather as flashbacks to place us in situation. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)

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