Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Sarah Polley’s STORIES WE TELL

Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald

Sarah Polley’s STORIES WE TELL is an exploration of how truth and memory interact in subtle and subjective ways about one family’s past history.

Being an outsider to this family it is difficult to assess what is truth and what is fiction given that the movie incorporates so many reenacted sequences made to look like they were really filmed in the past.

At any given time we have multiple levels of subjectivity:

  • How the director is orchestrating the film’s stories and storytellers.
  • How individual scenes from the past are being re-enacted.
  • How individual interviewed storytellers are remembering or choosing what they wish to say or not say.

At the end of the film I found myself wondering what if anything I had just seen was objectively “true.” For example, does this family really exist or is it a figment of someone’s imagination?

Being so far removed from the events depicted here it’s hard for me to answer such questions with certainty.  But STORIES WE TELL is a fascinating, original, and very entertaining adult film.

Review copyright (c) 2014 by Dennis D. McDonald, Alexandria, Virginia. He is currently working with Michael Kaplan PMP on developing SoftPMO project management services and with BaleFire Global on open data programs.  His experience includes consulting company ownership and management, database publishing and data transformation, managing the integration of large systems, corporate technology strategy, social media adoption, statistical research, and IT cost analysis. His web site is located at and his email address is On Twitter he is @ddmcd.

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