'Three Identical Strangers' review: I'm afraid to go out in public now

Three Identical Strangers

Like, what if I run into a long-lost twin or something? I really don't want to have to deal with that.

The year of the documentary continues with Three Identical Strangers, following two others that have swept us up by storm — Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and Whitney.

What’s great about these three movies is how different they all are. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? was about the legacy of a man who we all knew, Whitney was about the untold story of a woman we all knew and Three Identical Strangers is about the story of three men whom most of us don’t know.

Three Identical Strangers comes from filmmaker Tim Wardle and tells a story so insane that you won’t believe that it’s true. It is, of course, but it’s really difficult to fully wrap your mind around.

Bobby Shafran was 19-years-old when he stepped foot on his college campus for the first time.

Three Identical Strangers
credit: YouTube

Was it his first time, though? I mean, he’s pretty sure it is, but the way everyone is looking at him and, strangely enough, greeting him seems to suggest he’s been here before (he’s right because trust me, no one is ever that friendly to freshmen on their first day).

Everyone seems to think that Bobby is somebody allegedly named Eddy, which is completely mind-boggling to poor Bobby because he doesn’t know anyone by that name.

The truth, eventually, finds its way out. Bobby looks just like (and by just like I mean completely identical) to someone named Eddy Galland — a former student who dropped out just last year.

The coincidence is too much to let hang in there air. Bobby has to see for himself. He grabs his things, makes the two-hour drive up north and knocks on the door of the person everyone is calling his long-lost twin.

Three Identical Strangers
credit: YouTube

Turns out, all those people were right. It’s immediately apparent that these two are indeed twins, as they look alike, talk alike, have all the same mannerisms, etc.

The press soon gets ahold of this story and, before you know it, both of their faces are on the front page of every major newspaper in the country.

That’s how David Kellman finds his way into the picture. He’s flipping through one of these newspapers one morning when he comes across a photo of two people who look just like he does. Kellman begins to do some further research and soon finds that he shares the same birthday as these two brothers and came from the same adoption center, leading him to one logical conclusion: they’re actually triplets.

Upon meeting each other, it all feels like some crazy dream. They start hanging out together, instantly all becoming best friends and becoming somewhat caught in the moment.

Three Identical Strangers
credit: YouTube

Their parents don’t all quite share the same befuddlement as their adopted sons do. They're more curious as to how something like this could happen and why weren’t they made aware that their sons were actually triplets when they adopted them in the first place?

They begin digging, but don’t really find too many answers. Until now.

Granted, Three Identical Strangers doesn’t paint the whole picture for us, as you’re still going to come away from this with a lot of questions. This is a case that I think we’re going to hear a lot about in years to come, as Three Identical Strangers addresses things that we don’t have any answers for yet.

It does, however, bring some new answers forward — the likes of which are completely insane and honestly kind of scary.

Three Identical Strangers
credit: YouTube

I guess that leads me to my criticism of the film, which I might as well address now. Three Identical Strangers isn’t fooling anybody by pretending they know the full story at this time. To do so would be wildly unethical, as there’s still so much information that hasn’t quite found its way out to the public yet.

They acknowledge this, to their point, but it also doesn’t stop the filmmakers from trying to draw some conclusions at the end of this movie — conclusions that feel really premature in the grand scheme of things.

I obviously can’t go into any details, because that would ruin the experience of Three Identical Strangers, but it almost feels like they raise all these topical questions about some real shady stuff and mental health, and then try to end it by tying a little bow on it all because their worried we’re going to walk away from the movie frustrated over what we don’t know.

The thing is, we should walk away from this one frustrated as this is a very troubling case.

Three Identical Strangers
credit: YouTube

Again, I’m not going to say anything about what that case is but I promise that you’re not going to see it coming. I had heard that Three Identical Strangers was this crazy, unpredictable journey that you’ll never see coming so, of course, my brain was trying to figure out what it possibly could be before I actually saw the movie. Maybe two of the brothers were all figments of one of their imagination’s? Maybe the government made clones that escaped some secret underground lab? Or maybe the third brother saw the photo of the first two in the news and then got plastic surgery so he could pose as the third?

It’s not actually any of those things (and thank God, because all those ideas are honestly terrible), but the actual reveal is something much more off-putting and unsettling.

From a filmmaking standpoint, Three Identical Strangers is paced impeccably well. For the first 20 minutes, the whole thing just feels like this happy, feel-good documentary that we’re going to walk away from smiling. There are a few hints that something might be wrong during these moments, but never to the point where we’re able to connect the dots on ourselves.

Three Identical Strangers
credit: YouTube

When they do pull the rug from under your feet, it’s ‘Oh my god’ moment after ‘Oh my god moment.’ Towards the end of the movie I thought I had the whole thing figured out, only for them to introduce a new person who was interviewed with a whole bunch of new twists that I never saw coming.

I really do wish the filmmakers behind Three Identical Strangers could have better realized all those twists without having to come to a conclusion themselves, as it sort of feels like they might have gotten a bit too caught up in this story, but this is still an insane ride that you aren’t going to believe until you actually see.

Watch the trailer for Three Identical Strangers here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought of the movie!

'Three Identical Strangers' review: I'm afraid to go out in public now
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Brandon Schreur

The fella over there with the hella good hair. Movies and TV are my jam, and the fact that I get to write about them on a regular basis is the bees knees.

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