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Review: Three Identical Strangers

July 13, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

When the 19-year-old Bobby arrived at college in 1980, he was treated like a familiar face, despite the fact that he didn’t know anyone. As it turns out, they had mistaken him for Eddy, an identical twin that he never knew existed.

The story of these two long lost brothers being reunited by chance was so strange that it made the local papers, but it became even stranger – and even more of a media sensation – when they were contacted by a third guy named David, who also looked just like them.

They had all been adopted from the Louise Wise Agency in New York, shared the same birthday, and had many other things in common as well. They were identical triplets, who grew up within a hundred mile radius of each other, and never even knew of each other’s existence. The long lost brothers became fast friends and immediately shared a bond, but as they found out more about their past, their story started to take a darker turn.

Their story is recounted in Three Identical Strangers, a gripping new documentary that starts as a more lighthearted human interest piece before revealing itself to be something far more sinister. Exceptionally crafted by director Tim Wardle, who brings a strong narrative sense to the project and allows it to unfold with some truly shocking twists and turns, the film offers an incredible example of truth being stranger than fiction. The director utilizes a mix of interviews, archival footage, and reenactments with actors to tell the story in a very cinematic way. These choices are reminiscent of The Imposter, another stranger than fiction doc from several years back that the same production team had a part in.

The whole thing is masterfully edited together, with different clips and lines of dialogue repeating themselves at different points, allowing these little moments to take on deeper meaning the more that we find out about the story. The film ultimately ends up raising complex moral and ethical questions about how much information adoption agencies are required to divulge, and the effects that nature versus nurture can have upon somebody’s upbringing.

While it’s likely that some will already know the basics of this story, I would recommend seeing Three Identical Strangers knowing as little about it as possible. This is a riveting film, that just keeps getting more fascinating and disturbing with every new revelation.

Three Identical Strangers is now playing in limited release at Cineplex Cinemas Varsity in Toronto.

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