Film Review – Three Identical Strangers (2018)

Title – Three Identical Strangers (2018)

Director – Tim Wardle (Lifers: Channel 4 Cutting Edge)

Cast – Robert Shafran, Eddy Galland, David Kellman

Plot – The true story of triplets Robert, Eddy and David who never knew about each other until they were 19 year’s old having been separated at birth and fostered out to different families.

“I think that nurture can overcome nearly everything”

Review by Eddie on 28/02/2019

One of those true life stories that is absolutely stranger than fiction, Three Identical Strangers tells the bizarre true story of American triplets Eddy, David and Robert, who until the age of 19 had no idea they had a brother, let alone two brothers after they were adopted as babies.

By complete chance these brothers came to know each other and subsequently entered into each other’s lives, finding out they were indeed as you would expect, much alike and instant friends.

British director Tim Wardle throws us headfirst into this story as David and Robert recount the time the triplets lives changed forever, setting them up also as nationally known figures and the two brothers make for humanly relatable central figures and Wardle doesn’t get lost on details that matter little to the story moving forward, a story that takes some even more bizarre turns as we get to hear about the circumstances that led to the brothers being separated in the first place.

It’s within this that Wardle’s doco becomes an even more interesting proposition, as the true nature of these twins separation becomes apparent and the film begins to ask some thought provoking questions about the very concept of nature vs nurture and how our human lives are in many ways shaped and formed in ways we will never fully understand.

It’s amazing how much these brothers, who grew up separated, have in common yet amazing also the effect their respective foster parents and raising had on each individual brother, turning Wardle’s examination of the triplets story into one of those documentaries that will touch each and every viewer in a different way and make you reflect on those that have shaped your life and what that means to you as a fully formed adult.

Three Identical Strangers in many ways isn’t the most ground-breaking or revelatory documentary of modern times or even the most proficient but it’s messages and findings make it a must-watch for anyone with even a passing interest in this beyond bizarre true story.

Final Say –

A seemingly intimate story about three brothers who found solace in one another, that turns into a more wide-reaching expose of life and family, Three Identical Strangers is an often fascinating and touching documentary that will need to be seen to be believed.

3 ½ Marlboro cigarettes out of 5

16 responses to “Film Review – Three Identical Strangers (2018)

  1. I realize this is hard to discuss without spoiling but I’m curious why you don’t consider it “groundbreaking or revelatory.” It’s about a highly unusual situation (three triplets being separated at birth), and how that was the product of a particular political-scientific agenda. What does it not measure up to?

    • More in the way the documentary is made mate, nothing to do with the story itself. I found the actual film around it more workmanlike than amazing.

      • That makes sense! Are there documentaries that you recommend for their style? Agnes Varda’s Faces and Places is the only one I can think of.

      • I really liked Man on Wire, American Animals I enjoyed how it moulded doco with a genuine Hollywood flair.
        Some others that had a unique style.
        Dear Zachary
        Cobain: Montage of Heck
        And in particular Waltz with Bashir.

  2. I understand what you mean by the movie not being “groundbreaking” as few movies are these days, but I think Wardle wanted to avoid being exploitative or to over play the drama of the triplets’ story. It’s a sober movie that sticks to the same tone throughout, but I also think that suited the material. Good review though.

    • Sober is a great word mate. I really enjoyed this one, it probably didn’t reach the heights of some other recent docs I’ve loved over recent years but it was a film well worth watching.

    • Where are you based mate?
      I would imagine if it’s USA it would be a VOD release of sorts?
      I was actually lucky enough to catch this at an Australian cinema upon release towards the end of last year. I believe it’s on dvd here soon.

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