Stories We Tell

DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 49min

DIRECTED BY: Sarah Polley

In camera: Polley

Sarah Polley is a 34-year-old Canadian actress (Dawn of the Dead ) and film-maker (Away from Her ) with the clear-eyed perception of a lived-in soul. In Stories We Tell, Polley turns a self-absorbed gaze on her family and, through them, on her own secret history. Most vividly illuminated is the woman who, unlike Polley’s actor father, Michael, and her focused, articulate sisters and brothers, cannot be there: her late mother, Diane, an actress and the life of every party, who died of cancer when Polley was 11 and is played in Super 8 flashbacks by lookalike Rebecca Jenkins.


In 1978, while appearing in a play in Montréal, Diane began an affair with film producer Harry Gulkin from which Polley was conceived — a fact she was unaware of for most of her life. In examining the truth of her paternity, Polley also pulls back the curtains on a surprising love, along with its domino effect on the family as a whole. The discovery of an unexpected biological father is understandably fascinating to her. Whether it warrants such exhaustive, full-scale disclosure, like truth itself, is essentially subjective.