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Image from the documentary "Stories We Tell"

4 out of 4 stars

Stories We Tell
Directed by
Sarah Polley

Appearing on camera interviewing her own family members, Canadian sweetheart Sarah Polley positions this poignant personal doc as an investigation into the unreliability of memory and the contradictions in different experiences of the same events. There is some of this as family and friends offer varying insights into the personality of Polley's late mother, actress Diane Polley, but most of all this is the filmmaker's sensitive quest for three missing parents. Two who are still living are remarkably generous about being uncovered; the one who is gone is brought to life through ingeniously restaged Super 8 movies. At just the right moment, Polley skillfully fesses up to the recreations, but there is no sense she is duping us here. Rather, she seeks thematic consistency as life gives way to art. Similarly, if the film seems to wander about looking for its conclusion, that quest feels like Polley's own unfinished story.

At VIFF: Oct. 10, 8:45 p.m., Vogue; Oct. 12, 2:30 p.m., Granville 3

At TIFF: Sept. 7, 6 p.m., Bloor Hot Docs Cinema; Sept. 8, 11:45 a.m., TIFF Bell Lightbox

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