Three Identical Strangers

Three Identical Strangers


They didn't know they were brothers. But someone did.

Sundance Special Jury Prize-winning documentary on identical triplets reunited at age 19 and the dark secret behind their initial separation.... More

"New York, 1980: Three complete strangers — Bobby Shafran, Eddy Galland, and David Kellman — make the astounding discovery that they are identical triplets. Separated at birth, adopted, and raised by three different families, the 19-year-olds are reunited by chance. Their story sets the tabloids on fire, and the triplets suddenly become famous around the world. The brothers forge a relationship and become fast friends. They move in together in a swinging bachelor pad and open a restaurant that skyrockets to success. The toast of Manhattan, the triplets are living the high life. But their fairy-tale reunion sets off a chain of events that ultimately unearths an extraordinary and sinister secret that could answer controversial questions at the heart of human behaviour." (Sundance Film Festival)Hide

  • Winner of the Special Jury Prize (Documentary), 2018 Sundance Film Festival

  • Directed by Tim Wardle ('One Killer Punch', 'Lifers: Channel 4 Cutting Edge')

    • Documentary, Festival & Independent
    • 96mins
    • Rating: PG Mild themes and coarse language
    • UK

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Flicks Review

Like many documentaries, to divulge too much of the subject matter of Three Identical Strangers, returning after wowing festival audiences, would diminish its impact. Suffice to say, this tale of identical triplets reunited after being adopted out to three different families—their connection to one another unbeknownst to parents and kids alike—packs more punches than simply the novelty factor that made momentary celebrities out of the three young men in question.... More

As the opening minutes of the film recount, 19-year-old Bobby Shafran arrived on campus for his first day as a student only to find everyone seemed very friendly. Strangely, they seemed to recognise him and, stranger still, think that he was somebody else. So began the first in a series of near-random events that would bring Bobby and his fellow triplets Eddy and David into each other’s lives.

In any era, this would be news fodder—in 1980 USA, it meant a daily newspaper could charter a plane to find out more, and a slew of TV talk shows would gravitate to the story, especially given how audiences lapped up the grinning, engaging trio. Presenting this archival material alongside contemporary interviews with triplets now in their late 50s, it becomes apparent that Three Identical Strangers is going to move quickly from a story of curiosity and minor fame to something more serious, and in that regard, the film does not disappoint.

Tracing the lives of Bobby, Eddy and David beyond their time as a trio of media darlings, Tim Wardle’s film unfolds in unshowy fashion as the director recounts their post-reunion lives and their adopted families’ efforts to find out why they’d been separated. His patient storytelling, punctuated by interviews with family members, wives, and an investigative journalist who expands on the chilling background to this tale, sporadically gives way to shocking revelations that will prompt disbelief and a desire to discuss the film’s subject matter in detail after the credits roll.

Perhaps undistinguished in its style, the film’s intellectual and emotional impact comes from striking subject material that gives cause to ponder some of the viewer’s most tightly-held beliefs in their own identity and deeply question human morality. There’s a reason Three Identical Strangers took home a Sundance Film Festival prize, and is shortly being adapted into a narrative feature—you have to see it to believe it.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

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The Press Reviews

  • Three Identical Strangers is shocking, thrilling, and wildly entertaining, but it's also incredibly moving, leaving a lasting impression that you won't easily shake. I have a feeling this is a film we're going to be talking about for a long time to come. Full Review

  • This is a strange, ultimately quite distressing story touched by tragedy, told by Wardle with great skill and compassion in a brisk, consistently absorbing package. Full Review

  • Three Identical Strangers does a solid job laying out a story that's both remarkable and repulsive in equal measures, a window into the peculiar bonding of twins that holds appeal for the same reasons that inspired the medical research in the first place. Full Review

  • A gripping, stranger-than-fiction account of a real-world medical conspiracy, the film begins as a human-interest story and builds to an impressive work of investigative journalism into how and why they were placed with the families who raised them. Full Review

  • This is a strange, ultimately quite distressing story touched by tragedy, told by Wardle with great skill and compassion in a brisk, consistently absorbing package. Full Review

  • Tim Wardle has shaped the film as a detective story in which the more pieces of the puzzle are filled in, the more disgusted and infuriated we become. Full Review

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