Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 93 minutes
Age Appropriate for: 14+. The film is a mix of interviews, actual home movies, and fake home movies, and through them all there’s some cursing, smoking, and discussion and exploration of sexual themes. But the film is ultimately about a family and how it remembers and presents itself, and that exploration of memory on such a personalized scale will probably be quite fascinating for parents and older teenagers who can handle the thematic material.
There is a whopper of a secret at the heart of Sarah Polley’s memoir documentary ‘Stories We Tell,’ and no, I won’t spoil it. But it’s the kind of thing that shakes everything viewers will think they know about family and about memory, and Polley’s probing of our innermost interiority in such a finessed way makes her film surprisingly successful.
By Roxana Hadadi
Director Sarah Polley doesn’t make easy-to-watch movies—after seeing her work, you won’t forget it. The movies are, at their core, emotionally wrenching: 2006’s “Away from Her” was a gripping portrait of a married couple struggling with Alzheimer’s disease; 2011’s “Take This Waltz” was about how the grass always seems greener when you’re inside a stuck-in-a-rut marriage. And so it goes with her documentary “Stories We Tell,” which considers the kind of things we repeat to ourselves about our families. That we’re happy, that our childhoods were idyllic, that our parents loved each other. What if those tales weren’t exactly true?