For much of my childhood, I fantasized about the idea that I had a long-lost twin sibling. This was not because I was a lonely only child, or because I felt alienated from my actual siblings. I in fact had a happy, healthy family life, but I have also always had an active imagination, and the possibility of an alternate life or a hidden truth has often been enticing. Based on anecdotal evidence, I do not think I am the only one who has entertained this fantasy, but as I was raised by my birth parents, there was never a legitimate chance that it could turn out to be reality. However, for those who have been adopted, the odds are not impossible, and as the vicariously thrilling documentary Three Identical Strangers demonstrates, it has indeed happened, and more than once.

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Director Tim Wardle focuses on one particular case: that of Eddy Galland, David Kellman, and Robert Shafran, triplets who were adopted by three different families when they were infants and then randomly crossed paths when they were 19. They immediately became inseparable, moving in to a Manhattan apartment together and eventually opening a family restaurant named Triplets. It was like they had found the missing pieces of their soul that they never even knew were missing. Their story became a media sensation, with audiences enamored by their apparently inborn similarities, which went beyond mere physical gestures, extending even to their preferred brand of cigarettes and taste in women. If you were a Hollywood screenwriter, you could not have crafted a story a more perfect story.

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While the circumstances resulting in their separation are disturbing, the ecstasy of Eddy, David, and Bobby’s reunion ultimately renders their story the making of one big happy family. That is, until a third act twist reveals the manipulations that ensured they were split up in the first place. I do not want to spoil anything (although, as with any real-life tale, you can easily look up the details yourself if you so desire), but suffice it to say there is a good reason why their story feels like it was scripted. If you have ever suspected that there are some Truman Show-esque pulling of the strings in reality, Three Identical Strangers shows that people like Christof do indeed exist.

Director: Tim Wardle

Running Time: 96 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for The Joys and Vices of Young Adulthood

Release Date: June 29, 2018 (Limited)

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