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Stories We Tell

Director Sarah Polley
Year 2012
Run Time 108min
Genre Documentary
What begins as a cinematic search for her mother who died when Polley was only 11 becomes a kind of family detective story delving into long-buried secrets about the filmmaker herself. Mixing interviews with archival footage and dramatizations, Polley explores the very nature of family and the conspiracy we enter into in order to protect the bonds we cherish with our loved ones.

As Polley interrogates each of her subjects in turn, contradictory accounts emerge, and longstanding efforts to hide some painful truths eventually become futile.

The “stories we tell” — that all families tell in one way or another — turn out to obscure as much as they reveal, and the whole idea of the purpose of narrative is called into question in a way that is both fascinating and poignant.


Sarah Polley

Polley won a screenwriting Oscar nomination for Away From Her, and directed Take This Waltz and Stories We Tell. She wrote and produced Alias Grace, a miniseries based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, which premiered at TIFF 2017. In 2022 she published the essay collection Run Toward the Danger. Her most recent feature, an adaptation of Miriam Toews’ Women Talking, premiered at TIFF 2022.


Sarah Polley


Silvia Basmajian, Anita Lee




Biography, Female Filmmaker, History

Original Language


Language Version

FR Subtitles

Canadian Distributor

Mongrel Media