Sarah Polley

  • Words. Eliza Brockwell

Film | May 18 2016


Have you heard of the WIF #52FilmsByWomen campaign yet? If you like watching movies or have a general respect for the ideas of women, it’s probably right up your alley. #52FilmsByWomen encourages us all to actively seek out the achievements of women in film, watch one film per week, hopefully raise awareness of gender inequality in the film industry, while also discovering how wonderful women can be as directors. Grab a friend or just a bottle of wine while The Ladies Network does the hard yards for you. Each week, we’ll be curating a list of new and old films to watch with a few words on why it’s worth watching, spoiler free.

This week’s review is The Stories We Tell by Sarah Polley.

Stories We Tell is an intimate look into the scandals of director Polley’s own family. Recounting the recurrent family joke that Sarah didn’t look anything like her father, director becomes investigator into the truth behind the façade. The main character in this story is absent: her mother died of cancer some years ago, yet remains a pivotal player in the film. Polley dissects her mother’s marriages, her happiness and her motivations that saw Polley fathered to another man than ‘Dad’.

While this film is peppered with the tender moments of a painful revived history, somehow I feel that the film is restrained – Polley and family continually mention that the film feels invasive and embarrassing, so it probably requires an amount of emotional restraint to be made public. Nonetheless, the film was emotive, filling you with empathy and wonder for this investigation into whether one can find happiness in atypical familial structures, and a skewed sense of belonging.

You’ll enjoy this film if you like: Barbara Kopple’s Running From Crazy.

Find it here.

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