Back Rowe Reviews
Real Time Movie Reviews from the Back Row of a Theater

Three Identical Strangers (PG-13)

Directed by: Tim Wardle
Starring: Silvi Alzetta-Reali
January 2018

Warning! This is NOT a movie review. This is a critique of the film. Intended to initiate a dialogue, the following analysis explores various aspects of the film and may contain spoilers. Views are my own and elaborate on comments that were originally tweeted in real time from the back row of a movie theater
@BackRoweReviews. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. Ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!

The saying “the truth is stranger than fiction” certainly applies to director Tim Wardle’s documentary Three Identical Strangers, which chronicles the incredible true story of how triplets, who were separated at birth and raised by three different families within a 100 mile radius, meet under rather unlikely circumstances. The remarkable story made national headlines in 1980 and transformed the trio into an overnight sensation. The three 19-year-olds appeared on a host of news shows and TV talk shows like “The Phil Donahue Show.” The three brothers leveraged their newfound celebrity into owning and operating a NYC restaurant, appropriately named Triplets. But things took a dark turn when the siblings learned that they were part of an unethical study. Although the ostensibly outlandish premise initially grabs our attention, it’s the judiciously inserted interviews of the brothers, their parents and friends that holds our interest throughout the 1 hour and 36 minute film. The only downside here is that the movie overstates its case; certain archival clips are shown three times, which makes it feel like the story is being stretched out to fill a feature length movie. Also, significant screen time is dedicated to adoption agency insiders who, sadly, offer scant insight into the illegal “twin study.” Although the film’s resolution isn’t very satisfying, Strangers broaches some important topics, such as: nature vs. nurture, our irresistible need to play God, sibling bonding and the vitally important role parents play in the development of their kids. The movie is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking. Even though it focuses on three different people, Strangers is one of a kind.

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars