Hot Docs 2018: Our Review of ‘Three Identical Strangers’

Hot Docs 2018: Our Review of ‘Three Identical Strangers’

In New York, 1980, the seemingly impossible happens as three complete strangers accidentally discover that they’re identical triplets, separated at birth; that unknowingly grew up in within a 100-mile radius of each other.  The 19-year-olds’ joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, however it also unlocks a disturbing secret that changes their lives and transforms our understanding of human nature as we examine the dark origins of the experiment behind it all.

Rarely do films that start off so light and filled with life take such a genuinely dark turn, but that’s what makes director Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers work.  He ropes us in with the entertainment value of seeing these three men ultimately discover each other and rise to fame through their obvious similarities and then slowly breaking down the image that had built around them and the nefarious circumstances of why they were separated at birth.

Wardle keeps the focus more on the narrative rather than the characters of this truly horrific social experiment that is just so purposely invasive into the lives of others that it will make you want to throw up in your mouth just a little bit.  It’s a story of social and scientific manipulation that simply just shouldn’t be done.  Wardle allows us to be in the emotion of it all with his subjects while still making sure that we remain engaged with the machinations that allowed for all these events to happen creating a tonal balance for us as audience so we don’t get too swayed in one direction or the other.

Three Identical Strangers makes you appreciate the importance of family and upbringing in determining a person’s individuality but will also make you cringe at seeing how much of a factor a person’s DNA plays in determining who they become.

Three Identical Strangers plays on Thursday April 26th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox at 6:30 PM and again at the Scotiabank Theatre at 1:30 PM on Friday April 27th.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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