Film Review – Three Identical Strangers


STARRING: Edward Galland, David Kellman and Robert Shafran



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. Then they discover why.

1980, New York. Three complete strangers accidentally discover that they are identical triplets, separated at birth. As their reunion catapults them to national fame, it also unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond their own lives.

Three Identical Strangers is a documentary about three complete strangers, that in 1980 discover that they are infact identical triplets, separated at birth in 1961. What Eddy Galland, David Kellman and Robert Shafran soon discover however, is that a Jewish adoption agency and a psychiatrist named Peter B. Neubauer, had intentionally placed them with families at different economic levels, but for what purpose?


The documentary brings back to light the extraordinary story of three strangers coming together in 1980 after discovering that they are identical triplets, and we get to see the media storm that followed nationally about the similarities, not only their features or mannerisms, but the fact that they smoked the same brand of cigarettes, same taste in women etc. The film half of the film highlights the happier side of the tale, before the latter half takes a deeper dive into how the parents weren’t made aware of the other two children by the adoption agency, and what intentions led to their decision with three families from different economic backgrounds. The film is well edited by Michael Harte and the story itself kept me riveted till the end credits.


The main issue comes from the narrative standpoint about how certain moments are delivered with almost melodramatic effect, particular in ‘reveals’ or trying to pinpoint a villain from the adoption agency. In particular it too much recalls certain lines, moments from earlier in the documentary, like it’s trying to stretch out the runtime deliberately. The director tries to deliver the overall theme about the whole tale of the triples is about nurture, but the unanswered questions and things mentioned in the documentary but never fully tackled (the adopted older sisters angle), leaving the overall experience somewhat incomplete.



The story of Edward Galland, David Kellman and Robert Shafran is great to watch if you’ve never heard of the three identical triples separated at birth story before, and it is as  informative enough as it can be diving into the conspiracy angle but you might be left underwhelmed by the documentaries lack of resolution, leaving the audience with more questions than answers. Still, you know some studio in Hollywood is going to adapt this story into a feature someday. 8/10

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