Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stories We Tell


The film opens with Sarah Polly and her dad headed up some stairs to a recording studio. We next see Sarah's siblings settling in chairs and being miked along with family friends and friend of her mother Diane.

The film is the story of Diane Polley through accounts from her husband Michael Polley who also serves as the stories narrator along with each of her five children and her friends.




The story starts with Michael and Diane meeting after one of Michael's plays. We learn of Michael's talent and his stage presence that attracted Diane.  The next main topic is their wedding and the moves forward to the start of their family.

Michael and Diane's relationship begins to settle and Michael admits that he did not do much to raise the children or use or develop his talent that fist attracted Diane. He abandon acting and sold Insurance to support his family.

The  main event in the story is Diane's decision to go and do a play O Toronto in Montreal and the results of that run that leads to Diane's pregnancy and eventually to  Sarah's birth to a 42 year old mother and questions surrounding the pregnancy. The contemplation of an abortion is openly discussed as it  was at the time of the pregnancy.

Sarah questions her family in interrogative style. Looking for the facts even to the point of making her family members and her elders uncomfortable with her direct style of questioning.

It all serves for Sarah to gain a sense  of her mother who died in 1990 when she was 11 that she was not able to develop on her own. It also addressed a family issue that was the subject of jokes around the Polley dinner table for many years.

At one point near the middle of the film we jump back to Diane's first marriage that produced the two eldest siblings John and Susy Buchan and news clippings are shown reporting that Diane had lost custody of the children which was unheard of in the 60's the article stated that Diane had neglected her mother duties and was unfaithful to her husband.

A big part of the narrative are the events in Montreal and Diane's run on O Toronto that produced her pregnancy and Sarah. Michael reports of his visits to Montreal and the fact that their relationship rekindled during that period.  The file also discusses other suitors that Diane may have had while on her run of O Toronto in Montreal.



Toward the latter part of the film John Buchan reveals that he heard Diane speaking to someone on the phone around the time that she was pregnant with Sarah and it was a very heated conversations.

This lead Sarah to go to Montreal to investigate, take action and ultimately learn the family secret.

Polley delivers a an excellent piece based on raw facts and emotions of the contributors; the camera does not turn away from the contributor as their recount their mind's eye version of Diane MacMillan Polley.


Rating ****  out of 4

Stories We Tell  Documentary  Directed by Sarah Polley 108 Minutes Canada















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