This might be the only time I steer you away from the page, but if you haven’t seen Three Identical Strangers, it’s best to go in cold. May I suggest you read instead about Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-front-runner First Man or Lynne Ramsay’s disturbing 2011 movie, We Need To Talk About Kevin?
If you have seen the movie, however, I’m sure you’re half-mad with wanting to talk about it. It’s a documentary about two guys who discover, quite by accident, that they are twins, separated at birth. They were both adopted and had no idea they had a look-alike brother until mutual friends confused them when they both wound up at the same college, which is amazing enough. Their story goes national: it’s the feel-good story of the year, two 19 year old boys jubilantly reunited. And of the millions who catch sight of their front-page story is a third identical stranger. They are not twins, but triplets.
That feels like more than enough to have an engaging story, but in fact their story is only getting started, and it isn’t all as happy as their initial heady days together suggest.
This documentary is so well put-together that the intrigue stays with the film way beyond its first reveal. But this is not a piece of fiction. They’re real people who not only have their lives disrupted but find out they’ve been living with a painful absence. And then they find out worse things still. It drove me so crazy I was literally yelling at my TV (Three Identical Strangers has recently become available for rent).
I wrote recently about the above-mentioned We Need To Talk About Kevin, in which Lynne Ramsay gives us an awful lot to think about nature and nurture. Three Identical Strangers does it too in a way that’s utterly heart breaking. There are so many questions raised and injustices singled out and ethics breached that it’s aching, hard to catch your breath. But it’s must-watch material.