If you're not already on the Sarah Polley fan bandwagon, I highly recommend you come aboard. In her early 30s, she's still a young woman, but she's always seemed older than her years—as an actress, but more pointedly as a director. Your average 20-something doesn't make her feature length directorial debut an absolutely devastating drama about Alzheimers, like she did with Away from Her, for example.
Her latest is an autobiographical documentary that focuses on her mother, who died when Polley was just 11. But Stories We Tell is more interesting than it seems at face value. Through unrelenting interviews with family and close family friends, she peels back the layers on a family secret, aided by a wealth of archival footage. Not satisfied to merely tell an affecting, personal story, she also calls into question the methods and purpose of documentaries that draw on the memories of interviewees, elevating the film into an intellectual realm that wouldn't be out of place as the subject of study in a post-graduate film course.
It's currently playing at the Fox Tower, and needless to say, I recommend you see it. (For a longer-form argument in favor of the film, you can check out my official review from a couple weeks back.)
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