When I first saw Stories We Tell I was stunned. When I saw it again, I knew that reaction was warranted. And when I talked to the film’s director, everything was further illuminated. That director is Sarah Polley, who is probably best known for roles in films like Go and Dawn of the Dead. Polley is undeniably great in those movies, but after seeing her third feature film Stories We Tell, there’s no doubt she’s an even better director.
Polley approaches Stories We Tell with brilliantly layered execution. On the surface, it’s a personal documentary about her family history, featuring accounts from her brothers, sisters, parents, and friends. The basic story follows how her mother and father met, and started a family. From there, Polley questions the construction of story and truth. She breaks down the structure, turning the camera on herself. Finally, Polley uses this pleasant, thought-provoking documentary to pose surprising questions regarding the essence of cinema. Stories We Tell is now playing in select cities nationwide, so you can finally see what I mean for yourself.
Which brings us to a warm May morning poolside at a Beverly Hills hotel. I was lucky enough to sit down with Polley to discuss her wonderful film and ask all the burning questions I had after seeing it. You can read the conversation below. Read More »
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The calendar might only say “March,” but I doubt I’ll see many movies this year better than Sarah Polley‘s Stories We Tell. Since I saw it at Sundance (read my review here) I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, or accurately convey to people – without spoilers – just why it’s so great. What I’ve been saying is Polley’s documentary is, on one level, a exploration of her family history. At the same time, it’s a commentary on how she’s telling that story as she cuts between traditional documentary scenes and footage of her shooting them. But even that’s not everything.
Thankfully, Roadside Attractions has finally released a trailer that’ll do a much better job of selling the movie than I could. Stories We Tell opens in New York on May 10 and then starts rolling out on May 17. Check out the trailer below.
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Sarah Polley‘s documentary Stories We Tell is absolutely brilliant. I don’t use that word lightly, but I’ll say it again: brilliant. The actress-turned-director trains the camera on herself in a movie exploring not only her own family, but how people tell stories. She focuses on the truths embedded in them and different points of view. To help bolster that approach, Polley films not only her family, but herself filming the documentary, and cuts between the two seemlessly.
So while we’re hear Polley’s family history — how her mother and father met, got married, had kids, went through terrible trials, tribulations — we see the family, we see archival footage, we hear different points of view from all parties involved, and we see Polley behind the camera doing this, manipulating and prodding her subjects. And from there things get even more amazing.
After premiering at Berlin and playing Toronto and Telluride, Stories We Tell hit the slopes of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and just might be the best film at the festival. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2012 by Angie Han
Just two films into her directorial career, Sarah Polley‘s demonstrated an affinity for intimate, bittersweet dramas whether they be about senior citizens battling Alzheimer’s or pretty young things staving off boredom. However, it’s her third effort that looks to be her most personal yet.
Polley is moving into documentary with Stories We Tell, and the subject she’s chosen is her own family history. Which doesn’t sound all that exciting when I put it that way, I know. But the Polley clan apparently has some interesting stuff to say, and critics at Venice are taking notice. Watch the first trailer after the jump.
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Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 by Angie Han
If you’d told me that Seth Rogen would be the pleasant surprise of a quiet indie relationship drama starring Michelle Williams, I’m not sure I’d have believed you. This is her territory, after all, if it is anyone’s. (See also: Blue Valentine.) But even as the rest of Sarah Polley‘s Take This Waltz lurches between moments of understated heartbreak and scenes of thudding obviousness, Rogen quietly proves once and for all that despite his comedy roots, he’s got some serious dramatic chops.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 by Angie Han
After making her directorial debut in 2006 with Away From Her, about an elderly couple battling dementia, Sarah Polley‘s returning once again to the topic of marital strife. In her sophomore effort Take This Waltz, the characters in question are much younger and dealing with a whole different set of problems, but based on the trailer and clips we’ve seen so far, it seems that Polley’s assured, graceful touch remains a common thread.
Indie-drama queen Michelle Williams stars as Margot, who finds her happy marriage to Lou (Seth Rogen) thrown into question when she develops an irresistible attraction to a handsome neighbor (Luke Kirby). Watch the new trailer after the jump.
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Sarah Polley‘s latest directorial effort, Take This Waltz, stars Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen as a couple struggling with fidelity and the complexities of dealing with love and sex as Williams’ character is tempted by a strong, sudden attraction to another guy (Luke Kirby). The film premiered at TIFF last year, and gained notice for Williams’ performance, and for the rare dramatic turns by Rogen and Sarah Silverman, who plays his sister.
Magnolia will release the film this year, and a trailer has just been released. It is based on a sensitive monologue from Williams, which is followed with an effective Lost in Translation trailer-style montage in which we see hints of the characters’ lives and dilemma. Read More »
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Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2012 by Angie Han
Although Sarah Polley has only written and directed two feature films to date, she’s already gained a reputation as a promising young filmmaker. Her first film, Away From Her, received glowing reviews when it hit theaters in 2006 and earned Polley an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, and her second, Take This Waltz, has met with positive reviews on the festival circuit so far. Now Polley is gearing up for her next project, a big-screen adaptation of Margaret Atwood‘s historical novel Alias Grace. More details after the jump.
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