Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Canadian actress/filmmaker Sarah Polley has Toronto triumph on her hands

"Stories We Tell," a beautiful and multifaceted family memoir, stuns Toronto press and industry crowd with its deceptive documentary dexterity.

Canadian actress/filmmaker Sarah Polley has Toronto triumph on her hands

I’ve only yet seen a handful of films since landing Thursday for the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, but if there’s a better one than Sarah Polley’s deft and daring Stories We Tell here this year -- well, I’ll be shocked. This documentary “interrogation” (as Polley calls it) offers an intimate meditation on family, and family origins, on memory and truth, on the illusion of filmmaking, on love, fidelity… lots of Big Stuff. It centers around Polley's mother, Diane, a vibrant, larger-than-life figure who died when Polley was only 11. Polley’s droll, chainsmoking actor/writer dad, Michael, looms  prominently, too (he's the film's principal narratior), along with various siblings, friends and a significant other.

The Toronto-based Polley, who’s been spotted around town with her new baby in tow, made her feature debut in 2006 with the sad and beautiful Julie Christie Oscar-nominated Away from Her, and has the restless Michelle Williams romance Take This Waltz in theaters, and on PPV, right now. Stories We Tell came into Toronto from Telluride and Venice lacking a U.S. distribution deal. It’s hard to imagine the festival ending a week and a few days from now without this amazingly wise and resonant film – personal, but universal – having a passionate advocate ready to release it, and campaign vigorously for awards recognition, stateside.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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