“Who cares about our stupid family?” It’s a pertinent question, and one that kept echoing through my head during the first 30 minutes of Stories We Tell, a documentary by actress turned filmmaker Sarah Polley.
Polley has found success by telling intimate stories in a narrative fashion on the big screen. Her previous effort, 2011’s Take This Waltz, struck me as indicative of her inclination to show and tell, so as to really drive her points home. Ultimately, the film appears to suggest that “it’s really, really hard to see see ourselves as others do, and even more challenging to look into our own souls and see what sort of person we are,” as I wrote at the time.
Her desire to peer into souls is again manifest in Stories We Tell, although this time Polley strips away the pretense of fiction and fixes her eye on her own family, interviewing her father, four older siblings, and others about her late mother Diane. Early on, one of her sisters raises the question in a joking manner, “Who cares about our stupid family?” and the answer at that point seems to be: “Anyone who is intensely interested in show business.”
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Stories We Tell opens today at the Landmark Magnolia and Angelika Plano.