Saturday, 20 October 2012

Stories We Tell (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Stories Well Told!

3/5 Stars

Filmmaker Sarah Polley, in ‘Stories We Tell’, has doubled up as a detective to discover a few untold family secrets. However, while filming the movie, she comes to terms with a few uncomfortable truths which leave her in a quandary.

The Canadian film, a part of 'Special Presentations' at the Toronto International Film Festival 2012, was screened at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival. Although the film tackles a variety of issues, ranging from infidelity, liberation, coming-of-age, reunions, homosexuality, sexuality and emotional insecurity, you don't feel muddled up at all. It may not be everyone's cup of tea and digesting such a film will take a fair amount of patience but 'Stories We Tell' indeed is a good film.

Sarah has thought of putting together a documentary, featuring her close family members and family friends, wherein the interviewees, while getting nostalgic about the past, reveal a few uncomfortable truths. Sarah, for instance, is reminded of the fact that she is her mother's child from a man other than the one she considers as her father. Various sensitive topics are presented in a very subtle manner. For instance, father-daughter bonding, true love, infidelity, sexuality, family, loneliness etc. The film does not have a linear plot, so to speak, but you don't get confused at all.

While the entire cast of the film is wonderful, Sarah Polley has excelled as the director-screenwriter. The editing by Mike Munn too is brilliant. Lovely montages, close-up shots, archives, the vintage feel along with giving the contemporary times a classic touch. The nuances have been captured wonderfully by Iris Ng, the Director of Photography.

‘Stories We Tell’ is a sensitive film. It may not be everybody's cup of tea. However, if you give it time, it will force you to think about your own loved ones. Whether you can really forgive, forget and move on. The film is, in essence, about acceptance. Acceptance of facts, circumstances, emotions, love or the lack of it!

Shivom Oza

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