Skip to main content
Tiff Logo
TIFF Bell Lightbox
416.599.TIFF / 1.888.599.8433
Location | Hours
Other Sections:

Stories We Tell

Stories We Tell

A Special Presentation at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival®, Stories We Tell is the acclaimed feature documentary debut from award-winning Canadian actor and filmmaker Sarah Polley. In the few short years since Polley first revealed her remarkable talents as a writer and director, audiences have already come to expect the aesthetic rigour and reserved yet deeply felt emotion
she brings to her studies of human relationships.

In her first two features, Away From Her and Take This Waltz, she rendered the
complexities of intimacy and desire with the eloquence and control of filmmakers with far more experience. Away From Her in particular asked questions about how we can know ourselves or assess our lives if we can’t agree on the events of the past. Memory is truth — at least emotional truth. And nowhere in life are shared memories more fiercely contested than in the family.

Stories We Tell is at heart a personal essay on the intractable subjects of truth and memory. Using a combination of archival footage, still photos and testimonials in a captivating visual assemblage, Polley examines the disagreements and varying narratives of a single family as they look back on decades-old events.

The responses from the “storytellers” chosen to share their version of things are
heartfelt, revealing and even charmingly funny. The result is a lively and richly textured documentary that seamlessly blends past and present, the real and the imagined. Devoid of sensationalism and filled with tender and powerful moments, the film also serves as a loving homage to one key player who is no longer here to share her version.


Critical Notes

"Sarah Polley’s portrait of her parents’ marriage is a gripping tale, full of richness,
tenderness and emotional complexity. It’s difficult to tell what making this movie must have entailed, and with what diplomacy and skill she must have marshalled its participants — but the result is a great pleasure to watch." —Peter Bradshaw , The Guardian


Film Information

Director: Sarah Polley
With:: Sarah Polley, Michael Polley, Harry Gulkin 
Year: 2012
Runtime: 108 
Country: Canada
Language: English
Distributor: Mongrel Media
Ratings: ON NR / BC NR / AB NR / SK NR / MB NR / QC NR / Maritmes NR



DateCircuit CentreLocation

* Represents an approximate date. Please consult local listings.