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Three Identical Strangers (2018)

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2:09 | Trailer
In 1980 New York, three young men who were all adopted meet each other and find out they're triplets who were separated at birth. But their quest to find out why turns into a bizarre and sinister mystery.

Director:

Tim Wardle

Writer:

Grace Hughes-Hallett (developed by)
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Popularity
4,570 ( 234)
Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 11 wins & 46 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Shafran Robert Shafran ... Himself (as Bobby Shafran)
Michael Domnitz Michael Domnitz ... Himself - Eddie's Friend
Howard Schneider Howard Schneider ... Himself - Newsday 1969-2004
Ellen Cervone Ellen Cervone ... Herself - Friend
Alan Luchs Alan Luchs ... Himself - Friend
David Kellman David Kellman ... Himself
Hedy Page Hedy Page ... Herself - David's Aunt
Alice Shafran Alice Shafran ... Herself - Bobby's Stepmother
Elliott Galland Elliott Galland ... Himself - Eddy's Father
Eddy Galland Eddy Galland ... Himself (archive footage)
Richard Kellman Richard Kellman ... Himself (archive footage)
Justine Wise Polier Justine Wise Polier ... Herself - President, Louise Wise Services (archive footage)
Mort Shafran Mort Shafran ... Himself - Bobby's Father
Ilene Shafran Ilene Shafran ... Herself - Bobby's Wife
Janet Kellman Janet Kellman ... Herself - David's Wife
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Storyline

New York, 1980: three complete strangers accidentally discover that they are identical triplets, separated at birth. The 19-year-olds' joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, but it also unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond their own lives - and could transform our understanding of human nature forever.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Amazing, Incredible, Remarkable True Story Ever Told


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 November 2018 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Identical Strangers See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$171,503, 1 July 2018

Gross USA:

$12,320,845

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,445,052
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RAW See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Three Identical Strangers was part of The Hot Docs festival's 25th anniversary line up in Toronto. Both screenings of Three Identical Strangers at the festival were sold out. See more »

Goofs

The Volvo used in the initial sequences was a later model year (from the 80's) than the actual year (in the 70's). See more »

Quotes

Robert Shafran: When I tell people my story, they don't believe it. I guess I wouldn't believe the story if someone else were telling it, but , I'm telling it and it's true, every word of it.
See more »

Connections

Features Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Kids in America
Written by Ricki Wilde (as Ricky Wilde) and Kim Wilde
Performed by Kim Wilde
Licensed courtesy of RAK Publishing Limited
Licensed courtesy of Cherry Red Records Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
From happy reunion to events much darker in tone
27 July 2018 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

Though the story has been told before, (again recently in the New York Post of June 24th), seeing how three young lives were damaged in the name of scientific research turns the story from an interesting read into a visceral and ultimately heartbreaking experience. Tim Wardle's ("One Killer Punch") investigative documentary Three Identical Strangers traces the lives of triplets, Robert Shafran, Eddy Galland and David Kellman, all born to a teenage girl on July 12, 1961 in Glen Cove, New York. Placed in different homes by the same adoption agency at the age of six months, neither children nor the adopting parents were told about any other family members, only that the children were part of a "routine childhood-development study" which would require periodic visits and testing.

Using archival footage, home movies, interviews, and recreations, the film traces the trajectory of the boys' life from their happy reunion after nineteen years to subsequent events that are much darker in tone. The boys discovered that they were members of a family of triplets almost by accident. When Robert began his freshman year at Sullivan County Community College, he was repeatedly mistaken for Eddy (who had previously attended the school) and who he soon learned was the twin brother he had never known.

The story of the reunion of the long lost siblings received wide attention in the newspapers and was spotted by David, the third brother, a student at Queens College, and the three were reunited in a tale so amazing that Shafran is quoted as saying, "I wouldn't believe it if someone else was telling it." The happy reunion becomes fodder for media talk shows as the three are interviewed by Phil Donahue, Tom Brokaw and others and display an abundance of charm and sincerity. Without mentioning any possible differences that might exist, they talk about all the things they have in common.

Posing in the same position on stage, they tell us that each of their families had an older sister, they all wrestled in high school, they all like the same color, smoke the same cigarettes (here's a nod to Marlboro), like the same type of women, and, presumably enjoy the same kind of fawning publicity. The rush of fame soon becomes a crescendo and the brothers even make a cameo appearance in the movie "Desperately Seeking Susan." With David and Robert providing the narration and with non-stop pop songs in the background, we follow their lives as they move in together and open a successful restaurant in Soho appropriately called "Triplets."

After a period of time, however, a family dispute, the nature of which is undisclosed in the film, ends in Robert leaving the restaurant and moving out. Little by little, disturbing events surface. As Bob Dylan's song goes, "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." As told by journalist Lawrence Wright, the reporter who broke the story, we learn that all three brothers had emotional problems. Kellman and Galland had spent time in a psychiatric hospital and Shafran was on probation after having pleaded guilty to charges connected to a robbery. We also learn about Dr. Peter Neubauer, a highly regarded psychologist and Holocaust survivor who ran the research study, the Louise Wise adoption agency, and the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, all who played a role in the events surrounding the triplet's lives.

Wardle also includes the story of two other twins, sisters separated at birth by the same adoption agency. While there are important events described in the film that are best left for the viewer to discover, needless to say, they are very disturbing. Although some of the film's conclusions are little more than speculation and there are many things that are still not known (records are sealed until 2066), what we do know is enough to shake our faith in any scientific research divorced from considerations of humanity.


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