Stories We Tell

Synopsis: In this inspired, genre-twisting new film, Oscar®-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley discovers that the truth depends on who's telling it. Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers. She playfully interviews and interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting refreshingly candid, yet mostly contradictory, answers to the same questions. As each relates their version of the family mythology, present-day recollections shift into nostalgia-tinged glimpses of their mother, who departed too soon, leaving a trail of unanswered questions. Polley unravels the paradoxes to reveal the essence of family: always complicated, warmly messy and fiercely loving. Stories We Tell explores the elusive nature of truth and memory, but at its core is a deeply personal film about how our narratives shape and define us as individuals and families, all interconnecting to paint a profound, funny and poignant picture of the large
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Sarah Polley
Production: Roadside Attractions
  24 wins & 42 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
108 min

"When you're

in the middle of a story,

"it isn't a story at all,

"but only a confusion,

"a dark roaring, a blindness,

"a wreckage of shattered glass

and splintered wood,

"like a house in a whirlwind,

"or else a boat

crushed by the icebergs

"or swept over the rapids,

"and all aboard

are powerless to stop it.

"It's only afterwards

"that it becomes anything

like a story at all,

"when you're telling it to yourself...

"or to someone else. "

How far am I gonna go up?

- Three flights.

- Just keep going.

Take a break when you need to.

Jolly good.

Here we are, then. Hi.

All right.

So this is where you're sitting.

- Right.

- Put this here.

Right, then.

Let's have a look and see... Oh.

So this is the first half.

This is what, love?

The first half

of what we're recording.

I'm going to do the whole lot?

Yeah, there's another...

- All this?

- Yeah.

It's the whole

of the thing that I wrote.

It's a thing of punishment.

Whose tea is that?

I know.

I just think that I might be

sweating through my shirt.

Yeah. I'm ready.

Keep it handy.

I don't like this.

- Are you nervous?

- A little.

It'll get worse.

I hope you'll

explain to me sometime

what all this is

that you're trying to do.

With two cameras

and me recording it visually.

What about it?

It's not the normal way

of doing it, is it?

I don't know.

We've told you it's a documentary,

but it's actually...

It's an interrogation process.


It's an interrogation process

that we've set up.

I honestly need pills.

Do you really?

- I'm so nervous.

- Are you really?

Are my teeth okay?

I feel like I'm sweating.

What's my frame?

Okay. How are my breasts?

Okay. Showtime.

Me? Do you want me?

Oh, I'm sorry.

Okay, Dad,

so we can start any time.

Are you rolling? Yeah.


We're off.

In the beginning, the end.

I am unique.

From that precise moment

when I was dragged out

of my mother's womb

into this cold world,

I was complete...

an amalgam of the DNA

passed on to me

by my mother and father,

and they too had been born

finished products,

with their DNA handed down

by their respective parents,

and so back ad infinitum.

It is clear to me

that I was always there,

somewhere in my ancestors' DNA,

just waiting to be born.

So this unique guy

has always existed,

even in the mystery

of nothingness.

So where to start?

Dad, can you tell the whole story?

The marriage to Mom

and everything

that happened since?

Good God.

The entire story?

I'm gonna ask you now

to tell the whole story

as though I don't know the story,

from the very beginning

to the very end.


Can you tell this whole story

from beginning to end

in your own words?

Like, as though you're telling

a story to someone.

Like a medley.

- A medley.

- Yeah, okay.

Can you describe the whole story

from the beginning

until now in your own words?



I guess I better pee first.


- Give me a moment.

- Take a pee.

What do you think

of this documentary being made?

You can be totally candid.

Can I?

A lot of people have been.

I guess I have

this instinctive reaction of

who fucking cares

about our family?

Can I swear?

Who cares

about our stupid family?

I'm sort of embarrassed,

'cause I think it's our family,

and every family has a story.

But I do think it's really interesting

to look at this one thing

that happened

and how it's refracted

in so many different ways,

and there's so many different angles.

I guess if you could start

by describing Mom

in as much detail as possible.

Oh. Well, Mom, Mom.

I will refer her

to as "Mom," not Diane.

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Sarah Polley

Sarah Ellen Polley OC (born January 8, 1979) is a Canadian actress, writer, director and political activist. Polley first garnered attention for her role as Sara Stanley in the Canadian television series Road to Avonlea. She has starred in many feature films, including Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter, Guinevere, Go, The Weight of Water, My Life Without Me, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dawn of the Dead, Splice, and Mr. Nobody. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Stories We Tell" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 19 Apr. 2021. <>.

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