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Saturday
Jun302018

HELLO BROTHER, HELLO BROTHER // A FILM REVIEW OF "THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS"

BY MATEO MORENO

If you were old enough in the early 80's to remember the story of the triplets who found each other after being separated by birth, this story may seem familiar to you. Perhaps you even remember their cameo as, well, three identical twins checking out Madonna on the street in Desperately Seeking Susan." But even if you remember all of that, you probably don't remember what happened next, or how bizarre and twisted the happy go lucky reunion of the three twins went. Director Tim Wardle presents all of the compelling and surreal details in his new documentary THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS.

In the beginning of the tale we meet Robert Shafran. He's a 19 year old college freshman arriving at school, Sullivan County Community College. As he enters, suddenly people are hugging him, high fiving him, even embracing him and kissing him. All of them are telling him it's "great to see him again," though he's never stepped foot at this school. He's perplexed and confused and when he arrives at his dorm room and even more thrown when his new roommate Michael Domnitz runs and says, "When were you born?" His roommate has figured it out. The entire school thought that Robert was a man named Eddy Galland, someone Robert looks exactly like. And for good reason. Eddy is the twin Robert never knew he had. So they take off in the middle of the night and it's like seeing double. The twins have found each other. But it doesn't end there.

Soon, after the media picks up on their story, a third twin named David Kellman is discovered, and now these boys each have two brothers they never knew he had. Not only are they identical, but they have the same smile, the same mannerisms, seem to like the same things. And oddly enough, each one of them come from a family where they have one adopted sister. They were also all placed in their respective homes by the same agency, Louise Wise Services. The media eats it up and they appear everywhere, talk show after talk show, magazine covers, you name it. But this seemingly "Happily Ever After" tale is about to grown much stranger, and sadly, much darker.

Director Wardle frames the film with both documentary footage and short snippets of recreations. And even as you start to realize something odd is afoot, you won't guess what it is until it happens and the fallout is fascinating, and incredibly frustrating. The boys speak to the camera in modern day, retelling the most exciting moment of their young lives and take us through what became the most turbulent years. It's a startling, twisting, and fascinating documentary. One that you have to see to believe. And once it's over, if you're like me, you'll be so frustrated that you'll start googling information that you've just found out from watching the film, hoping to find some evidence that a story like this will never happen again. But it just might because after all, we don't live in fairy tales with a guaranteed happy ending, do we?

 

MATEO'S GRADE: B+

DIRECTED BY Tim Wardle STARRING David Kellman, Robert Shafran, Eddy Galland. Now playing in select cinemas.

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