Plot: Bobby Shafran arrived on campus to begin his college experience, only to find himself approached by numerous other students and welcomed like an old friend, even though he knew none of the people involved. He was confused, but uncovered the truth when his roommate seemed to think he was someone else, a young man named Eddy Galland. Eddy has attended the same school the previous year, but didn’t return and as Bobby looked exactly like him, he was mistaken for Eddy. When Bobby and Eddy meet, it becomes clear the two are long lost twins, as both were born on the same day and were adopted. This sparks a national news story that captivates millions, but the story then became even more unusual, as a third brother, David Kellman saw the newspapers and realized he was part of triplets. Three Identical Strangers chronicles the unlikely tale of these long lost brothers and their reunion, as well as the events that followed and how they were separated to start with.
Entertainment Value: The old chestnut about truth being stranger than fiction is often proven correct in the realm of documentaries and it is certainly case here, as Three Identical Strangers is the kind of story you’d never believe, except that it happens to be the truth. The movie opens with the background on how Bobby and Eddy found each other, a story that alone was enough to capture national attention, let alone when the third brother David came out of the woodwork. The reunion of the triplets is beyond fascinating and the brothers toured television shows, as well as being the subjects of countless articles and news reports. At a certain point, as you are shown what the brothers do once they’ve found each other, you’re likely to wonder what else the movie could do. As strange and unbelievable as the reunion story is, that is just one part of the mysteries of Three Identical Strangers.
The movie bends some of the rules of the traditional documentary style, going for a more narrative approach that picks and chooses when to reveal important details, which is bound to spark various reactions. Some will dislike the narrative manipulation, while others will appreciate the movie’s flair for suspense and exposition, but I can see both sides, to an extent. I was hooked in right from the start and reeled in throughout, so while some narrative tricks were used here, it still looks and feels like a documentary, just one with a lot of modern touches. I do wish more depth was provided on the brothers, especially in their lives after the reunion, as the movie could stand a longer duration and still hold up. But the film tends to gloss over some aspects and take a bigger picture approach, which sacrifices the deeper dive. Even so, this is a wild and fun piece that is well recommended to fans of documentaries, but even those who don’t normally embrace the genre will likely be won over as well.