Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Three Identical Strangers

On Monday I saw the documentary Three Identical Strangers.

In 1980,  Bobby Shafran, Eddy Galland and David Kellman discovered they were triplets. They grew up in separate households within 100 miles from one another, all adopted from the same agency. They had no prior knowledge they were part of a multiple birth, nor did their adoptive parents. But they were grateful to have found one another and became fast friends.

The triplets moved in together, went into business together and went clubbing together. They enjoyed instant fame and took advantage of all the perks it provided.

The parents, on the other hand, wanted answers. They returned to the agency where they'd adopted their boys and demanded to know why they weren't told they were triplets. They were told they would have been harder to place if kept together—but that wasn't the truth.

In reality, the triplets and dozens of other twins were part of an elaborate secret study trying to determine the power of nurture over nature. Case workers visited their houses as they grew up to observe their behavior, interview them, film them and learn about their habits—all under the guise of a study that was just meant to study adopted children.

Once they discover this deceit, they search for those who can provide answers, and the tale gets even more twisted from there. Laced with tragedy and pain, the true magnitude of how many people the study impacted may never be known.

The film was excellent, but is shot like a news magazine so there's nothing new to the storytelling. Also, I wish they hadn't repeated a few of the clips multiple times because that diluted, instead of strengthened, the point they were trying to make.

Still, well worth seeing for the story itself, which confirms that truth remains stranger than fiction.


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