Tragedy In Similarity: Our Review of ‘Three Identical Strangers’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - July 13, 2018
Tragedy In Similarity: Our Review of ‘Three Identical Strangers’

One of these things is not like the other one…

In Three Identical Strangers we’re not just getting one story, but we’re getting many all tangled up and interwoven together that makes this movie so much more than your a-typical ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ type of hokey happenstance.  It’s the kind of film that makes us insidiously delighted with the narrative unfolding in front of us, until it quietly enrages us and provokes us to point of making our blood boil that something this messed up could have actually happened.

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.

It plays like a pop expose at times, very aware of its need to be entertaining but not skimping on the facts of the story that draw us down into this very surreal rabbit hole of what happened to these three men.

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.  You would never think that the eternal debate of ‘Nature vs. Nurture’ could be told with a certain sense of zeal while still being heartbreaking and clear in its focus, but that’s the kind of movie that this is and it gets better and better the more you let it seep into your very own emotional core.

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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