After proving herself as an actress and a director (check out the brilliant Away from Her), Sarah Polley’s new film is a documentary about herself and her family.
Early on in the film, one of her interviewees (her sister, if memory serves right) asks: “Why would anybody care about our family?” A legitimate question, which the film doesn’t try to answer, but by the end you ask yourself: “Why wouldn’t you care about this family?”
The story of the Polley family is nothing unheard of, one might even call it ordinary, but this is what the film is about: the stories of ordinary people and how we can all relate to them.
While the film is clearly as personal as it gets, Sarah Polley keeps herself very much in the background (she is not onscreen that much) and gives the spotlight to her family, who are all incredibly smart, articulate and interesting company.
The film is narrated by her father, who was also an actor, and many of the films best scenes show him working with his daughter on the recording of the narration.
While it almost seems that Sarah Polley made this film for herself, rather than an audience, you never feel uncomfortable or as an intruder; the film welcomes you into this extraordinary family and by the end, you feel like you know and understand these people.
Beyond the personal, the film also has a lot to say about family and human interaction and holds a certain universal truth about the nature of storytelling, which makes it the most fascinating documentary I’ve seen all year.