By Jess Fenton
3rd August 2018

When choosing a film to watch at a festival, I’m always overwhelmed. There are, of course, the films you’ve already heard of thanks to buzz provided by earlier overseas festivals. Then there are the ones that simply look interesting or are appealing due to the cast or crew. But for me personally, I tend to gravitate towards the documentaries. You’re less likely to get the opportunity to see them again once the festival ends due to this country’s sad devaluation of the documentary - why exhibit powerful truth at your local multiplex when the latest CGI whatever with The Rock will make more money? And most importantly, a well-made documentary partnered with a story not even the greatest fiction writer could come up with creates some of the most important, captivating and incredible storytelling around.


What captured my attention for ‘Three Identical Strangers’ was that I’m the daughter of a twin. I’ve seen first-hand the bond, nature and impact that being a multiple can have on a person. And it is extraordinary. Growing up, my mother devoured books, documentaries and news stories on twins - I suppose constantly fascinated and beguiled by the idea that others out there were experiencing the same extraordinary experience she and her sister were.

But ‘Three Identical Strangers’ is something else entirely. Made to perfection using home archival video and photos as well footage and interviews from this publicly well-documented journey, this is a story beyond comprehension - and like all great stories and indeed documentaries, it ends nowhere near where it started.

It was 1980 when 19-year-old Bobby Shafran rocked up to his first day of college. A daunting day for anyone filled with nerves and excitement. One might say, the first day of the rest of your life. Whomever first coined that phrase had no idea how right they were. Already having experienced an odd journey from his car to his dorm room, it was once Bobby was inside that a complete stranger confronted him to let him know that he was the unknown twin to a friend of his. Bobby and newfound brother Eddy’s story made national headlines, leading to the discovery of a third identical brother, David. Wow! It couldn't get more riveting than that. Or could it? Sorry, no spoilers here.

Filled with twists and turns no one could have ever seen coming, ‘Three Identical Strangers’ will put your ethics and morality to the test.

Filled with twists and turns no one could have ever seen coming, ‘Three Identical Strangers’ will send your brain into a tailspin, will make you contemplate things and ideas you never would have even dreamt, and will put your ethics and morality to the test.

The story of these three men is remarkable and the film matches it, right until the last frame. Director Tim Wardle has done these brothers a great service and, fingers crossed, has helped justice prevail. ‘Three Identical Strangers’ will have you hooked - it's simply unmissable.

Looking for more Sydney Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
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RELATEDTHE BREADWINNERThe power of storytelling and the human spirit
RELATEDTHE BREAKER UPPERERSAnother soon-to-be New Zealand comedy classic
RELATEDDISOBEDIENCEAn emotionally rich collision of faith and desire
RELATEDUPGRADEFuturism and face-smashing action
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RELATEDTHE ICE KINGSo much more than a champion figure skater
RELATEDSAMUI SONGA twisty, noir-ish exploration of female identity in Thailand
RELATEDHARD PAINTA colourful addition to cinema's queer comeback
RELATEDWRATH OF SILENCEAction-filled mystery and scathing social critique
RELATEDTHE INSULTA brilliant examination of the nature of conflict
RELATEDLEAVE NO TRACEOverflowing with hope and compassion
RELATEDMIRAIA magical journey through childhood
RELATEDTHE FIELD GUIDE TO EVILAn uneven assortment of international terrors
RELATEDA VIGILANTEA timely blow to the throat of toxic masculinity
RELATEDJILL BILCOCK: DANCING THE INVISIBLEA fascinating portrait of an Australian cinema icon
RELATEDWEST OF SUNSHINEStruggle in the suburbs
TRENDINGWIN SHUDDER HORROR BUNDLEPrepare for shivers down your spine!
TRENDINGSPENCERA beautifully strange and deeply moving fable of the People's Princess
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGLIMBOA witty yet humanising look at the refugee experience
TRENDINGEUROPA! EUROPAThe scoop on Australia's newest film festival
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
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