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Film Review: “Three Identical Strangers” (2018) ★★★★★


Eddy, David, Bobby, Courtesy of NEON

Eddy, David, Bobby, Courtesy of NEON

Nature or nurture – Which one of the two factors has impacted who I am or my identical twin sister? How did we inherit the characteristics we have? Is it because all of it was planted during parenting or it was part of our DNA? Whatever it is, I have asked myself the same question all over again during the preview of “Three Identical Strangers” which I found extremely, if not unbearably, painful to watch. Because to understand the struggle or the outcome of what happens to these three amazingly adorable triplets, it’s good to be a bit more than just a sibling. Because the connection twins or triplets share is unique, incomparable and touching, profound and something only a few can experience.

Set in New York, Bobby Shafran, 19, walks into pubic school not understanding why some people jump on him to hug, greet or even kiss him. As he finds the source of unexpected fame curious and funny, he soon was asked a question that will strike him to the core: “Were you adopted?” Bobby is asked. “So when is your birthday then?  “A stranger asks.” July 12th 1961”, the young man replies. Of course that kind of answer would not be so shocking but it was striking indeed when soon Bobby learns that he has an identical twin brother he never knew existed. But if that news was not enough, the tsunami of the news would not stop arriving when, apparently, there is a third brother who exists, which eventually leads to one devastating news – they were all separated the day they were born – Eddy, Bobby and David Shafrans.

Just to conclude a very short review of “Three Identical Strangers”, you might think what a funny story this is when finally 19 years later the triplets are reunited. Indeed, the long nobody-awaited reunion happens to open another chapter of their life, something that’s more heartbreaking, sad and truly unbelievable. As the brothers were sent to three different parents from three different social classes, it will appear that their separation was just a part of an experiment they did not know about. As the story unfolds, through the interviews of the brothers, you will be stumbled, find yourself speechless and maybe if not for certain, in tears. Because there is no other way to react to what has been told or shared through Tim Wardle’s documentary, one of the best ones ever made.

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