Stories We Tell

Rated 5.0

The perceptive Canadian actor-director Sarah Polley gathers her extended family for a collective documentary remembrance of her late mother, Diane, who in retrospect, seemed all too comfortable at the center of so much attention. Yet Diane also had at least one whopper of a family secret, which Polley rather politely wants to unpack. On this matter, the rest of the family is both a great help and no help at all. Arguably, they incriminate themselves, but Polley's plan isn't to corner anyone; her heart is much too huge for that. Deep within the cozy nostalgic enclaves of bohemian Montreal and Toronto, some thorny questions do come up for Diane's most significant suitors: Sarah's sweetly reticent father, Michael, himself also an actor and a writer—he overlays the film with his own beautifully literate narration of family lore—and Harry Gulkin, a gregarious film producer. What's really at stake is Sarah's own origin story, and sharing, she knows, is the best way to validate it.