109 minutes, Canada, 2012, Colour, D-Cinema

Actress-turned-director Sarah Polley (Away From Her, Take This Waltz) picks her way through a potential minefield in this deftly mounted documentary, exploring her family’s tangled history via personal emotional catharsis and an intelligent examination of just who owns the past.

The saga starts with an in-house joke about how she looks unlike her siblings and pretty much cartwheels from there, sustained by often bracingly revealing interviews and much evocative ‘70s home-movie footage. However, we also see her father, former actor Michael Polley, delivering his own written narration, flagging up the whole issue of just whose agenda is being represented – something increasingly loaded the more we know about traumatic previous events.

The end result is quite remarkable however, as Polley’s film balances soulful intimacy with a hard-won realisation of the granular instability of truth. You’ll be talking about it for weeks afterwards. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)


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