Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Nov 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Stories We Tell

film stories we tellIn 2006, Canadian actress Sarah Polley directed Julie Christie to an Oscar nomination and herself to a variety of writing and directing awards for her feature debut, Away From Her. Now Polley turns to the documentary format in Stories We Tell, which is essentially a glorified home movie about the filmmaker's family and a potent secret buried for years in its collective past. In circling around her quarry, a family rumor, a joke, really, that she decides to investigate, Polley attempts to give her subject universal appeal by stressing the theme of communal family storytelling, and the places where family story and true history either converge or split apart.

And the Polley family story she tells certainly has dramatic impact, once the truth is finally untangled from the myth surrounding it. Still, the viewer might agree when Joanna Polley, one of four other siblings interviewed in the film, laughs, "Who cares about our family?" Sarah Polley's claims that her film taps into something universal in the family experience, yet we wonder if this story really needed to be told outside her immediate clan. The film centers on the relationship between her father, reflective, solitary Michael Polley, and the vivacious life-force that was her mother, Diane; they met as stage actors in Toronto (although Michael claims Diane fell in love with a part he was playing). What seems to begin as a daughter's quest to get closer to the mother she barely knew becomes a portrait of love, lies, disappointment, regret, and a nugget of family intrigue with surprising repercussions. We also see how filmmaker Polley has overlaid her own layer of secrets and lies, although this is not revealed until the last 15 minutes of the film. Polley demonstrates her command of film language; these seamless additions are ingeniously done, inviting us to question the act of storytelling itself and the elusive nature of "truth." But it also feels a bit like cheating, as if Polley couldn't resist fictionalizing some portion of the material for public consumption. It also feels like her attempt to graft on a punchier thematic finale for the film, after her family revelation runs its course. Although it can be poignant and wryly humorous, the film mostly plays like an evolved episode of reality TV. (PG-13) 108 minutes. (★★1/2)

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Good Times Holiday Giving

Giving Where It Helps

 

Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Round About Now

The glory of persimmons, plus Ivéta scone mix and lunch at Assembly

 

What charities would you like to see people support this season?

Judy Allen, Scotts Valley, Consulting

 

Big Basin Vineyards

I was just in the process of purchasing a bottle of Big Basin’s 2012 Homestead in Vinocruz when Matt Ryan walked into the store. Ryan manages the tasting room, sales and the mailing list at Big Basin, and, considering the popularity of their wines, he’s a very busy man.

 

Ashby Confections

Local chocolate maker talks chocolate and self control