Three Identical Strangers

In 1980 New York, three young men who were all adopted meet each other and find out they’re triplets who were separated at birth. Then they discover why.

Stranger than fiction documentaries always pique my interest and ‘Three Identical Strangers’ is a particularly good one, and in the spirit of recent high points of the genre like ‘Searching for Sugarman’ and ‘The Imposter’, there’s much more to this than meets the eye. The initial premise centres on a set of triplets who were all adopted as babies by separate families, unaware they had brothers, until a sheer coincidence leads to this life changing discovery. The film is constructed through a combination of talking head interviews, archival footage and re-enactments and it really sells the wonder and joy when the boys first discover each other, and the horror and heartbreak that comes as details of their separation at birth come to light. It’s a remarkable tale and this is a film well worth seeking out.

The film initially follows the triplets as they start to build a relationship with one another and for a spell achieve a degree of fame in New York’s nightlife scene, making several TV appearances and eventually opening up a gimmicky restaurant together, but it’s when the narrative switches to how they were all separated that ‘Three Identical Strangers’ truly excels. Suffice to say in a documentary like this it’s best to go in as cold as possible so I’ll keep details to a minimum, but the direction the story goes in left me in disbelief. The filmmakers construct the narrative well by introducing the situation then peeling back the layers to reveal darker and darker secrets, and the story becomes a much wider exploration of deeper themes than three goofy brothers separated and reunited by fate.

Three Identical Strangers’ is a terrific documentary about three brothers filled with surprising developments and shocking revelations and I thought it was a superb watch.

Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Tim Wardle

Starring: Edward Galland, David Kellman and Robert Shafran


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