The film is Stories We Tell, from director Sarah Polley. It’s a personal documentary about her family, but provokes very deep thoughts about the stories we tell about ourselves. I realize this does not sound like a winner, but I really can’t recommend it enough.
To say more would be to ruin the movie. Do not read anything about it in advance, or even watch the trailer, if you can help it. Just go. If you’ve seen it already, here is an excellent interview. Also, here is Polley talking to Terry Gross on NPR. Tyler Cowen, by the way, calls it the must-see movie of the year.
The book, meanwhile, is Americanah, by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s a book about emigrating to America, and then emigrating home again.
The main character comes to America, discovers race politics, and the fact she is now a black, and starts a blog explaining the race to NABs–non-American blacks. Funny and poignant. This is easily the most interesting part of the book, but not the main storyline–it is also about belonging, love and hair. Everything about it is excellent. She’s easily one of the best writers of her generation.