Stories We Tell
By Nicki Dyer With on February 10, 2013

This documentary uses multiple voices to tell the story of the director, Sarah Polley’s mother, Diane who died when Sarah was eleven. Through interviews with her family and Diane’s old friends Sarah weaves together a narrative that turns her family dynamic upside down. She discovers that her mother had an affair and she is actually the biological daughter of another man. Sarah meets and gets to know her biological father, Harry, and several weeks later, he wishes to publish he and Diane’s story. Sarah, who had only just told the father she’d grown up with, Michael, and didn’t want him to have to deal with such scrutiny. Sarah opts to tell the story via a documentary told by all Diane’s friends and family, but Harry is against it stating that too many perspectives leads to confusion and being unable to ‘get to the bottom’ of a story. Michael also comments on the truth that gets left out of films due to editing, stating that a straight interview is one thing, but editing changes the truth to that of the filmmaker and not the story. Sarah’s sister on the other hand, talks about multiple perspectives being a good thing, and really the only way to know the whole story. For me these ideas about truth and perspective are relevant the church today. Within a culture that is constantly shifting and changing as global communication makes learning about and interacting with people worldwide nearly effortless. The day and age when America was a ‘Christian’ nation the citizens of which spoke one religious language is over. The post modern era we live in today is one in which we must speak a language that can be understood by people who believe in a range of things. This new world is one where the Truth is different for every person, even among those of the same religion, and so an understanding of interpretations and the lenses people bring to Scripture, or belief in general is necessary for talking about our beliefs in a constructive way. Just as Sarah’s sister found multiple perspectives necessary to learn about their late mother, it is through the multiple perspectives we live with that we grow to understand our faith in new ways.

About the Author: Nicki Dyer
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