Stories We Tell | Chicago Reader

Stories We Tell

For years Sarah Polley was teased by older siblings about her lack of resemblance to her dad, but only in her late 20s did she learn that her mother—actress Diane Polley, who died in 1990—had conceived her during an extramarital affair with a producer named Harry Gulkin. To reconstruct this family scandal, Sarah interviews family members, her mother's friends, and her biological father; they paint an unhappy portrait of Diane, a vibrant, charismatic woman who felt unloved by her diffident husband and who agonized over whether to terminate her late pregnancy by another man. Sarah might have wrapped up this 2013 documentary after her parentage is revealed about 70 minutes in, yet it continues for another 50 as she ruminates over the tale and ponders some of the discrepancies in different versions, her engrossing personal story gradually devolving into an exercise in self-regard.



  • Sarah Polley


  • Silva Basmajian
  • Anita Lee

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