The Vern’s Quick Review of Stories We Tell(2012)


stories-we-tell-uk-film-movie-quad-poster-design-london-artificial-eyeStories We Tell” is unlike any documentary I have seen before.  Yes I realize that in saying those words, it could make me sound like a pretentious asshole, but it really is something different and also quite special at the same time.    The basic premise alone may be a bit difficult to sell you on.  I’ll admit, I had my doubts when I first heard about this project.  But the way it made me pay attention to not only the story of this one family, but the stories of my family and all other families is really quite astounding.  There are tons of stories of my family that have been told before and some I still don’t know about.  Not to mention the  tales from other families connected to me and  the ones by close friends as well.  This movie’s main message is  that some of the greatest stories we know are a lot closer then we think.

Director Sarah Polley(“Away From Her“)whom you may have recognized in movies like “The Sweet Hereafter” “Go” and the 2004 version of “Dawn of The Dead”  put together this project to find info about the mother she barely knew.  Diane Polley was an inspiring actress who died when Sarah was only 11.    Her father Michael would raise her for several years , but as she grew older.  Sarah began to hear tales of how different she looked and that the dad she knew.  May not be her real dad after all.

StoriesPutting together interviews with family members and friends of Diane.  Including footage of actors made to look like home videos.   Sarah Polley puts together a really fascinating portrait of a family who may have a few secrets but look like any other family.  In some instances they may even remind you of your own.  Never once does the story get boring or predictable and just when you think you know where it’s heading.  It slips in new facts that not only surprised us but Sarah as well.  Let’s not forget that we are on this journey with her and finding new facts as she does. When she does discover new facts.  It’s clear that she is not acting for the camera and it’s great to feel the same things that she is.  A truly remarkable achievement.


About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcasts The Film Pasture, ScreenTrax, and soon Cinema Recall. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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8 Responses to The Vern’s Quick Review of Stories We Tell(2012)

  1. CMrok93 says:

    After awhile, the message was annoying and used constantly, but the story itself was very interesting and I liked how Polley didn’t really hold much of anything back. Good review Vern.

  2. The Vern says:

    Thanks Dan, but I never found the message to be too anoying. I thought Polley set a good tone throughout the flick and for me it wasn’t too overly sappy.

  3. table9mutant says:

    Great review. I’ve been wanting to watch this for ages! About time I do. 🙂

  4. Chris says:

    This one interested me on first watch for the unique premise, but on rewatch recently it felt overlong(could have been told in half the time). I think it suffers from the need to make a feature length documentary in order to compete in that awards category. For me, there wasn’t enough here for a 108 minute film. And this is coming from someone who loves Sarah Polley. I like what you say about the greatest stories we know could be a lot closer then we think.

    • The Vern says:

      For me it never felt long but I can understand your points that it felt overlong. I just like that at first you think it’s going to be about her mom she didn’t know and then it becomes something else. Thanks for the comments Chris

  5. thycriticman says:

    Damn, I had a chance to do an assignment on this and decided that I didn’t want to watch it. It looks like that may have been a mistake! I chose Life of Pi instead, but I doubt that I’ll actually watch it!

    • The Vern says:

      To be fair, Life of Pi is still a good movie and I think you will enjoy it. Stories We Telll is different for me because I did not know where it was going and I really enjoyed it for that. What school are you going to that they give you awesome assignments like that

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