“Three Identical Strangers”: Alike But Never Fully There

Three Identical Strangers, a documentary about identical triplets who were separated at birth and reunited 19 years later, goes from heart warming to heart breaking, to wishing the story never happened to them. It is a profoundly told semi biography that examines the nature versus nurture debate about human behavior, never fully coming down on one side or the other, sympathetically noting that both have a role in making them, uniting them and pulling them apart.

The sad fact of the triplets lives is that they were deliberately separated at birth. They and other twins were part of a secret experiment that examined whether genes or parent rearing styles where the dominant influences that shape human development. There is an unsettling echo of NAZI scientist Josef Mengele twin research here. That these experiments were sanctioned with the participation of a Jewish adoption agency, a Jewish psychologist who fled NAZI Germany, and the financial backing of a philanthropic Jewish agency, adds to the gradually unfolding chill and sense of horror.

The triplets public lives were fixtures of the talk shows of the eighties, and they were considered an incredible success story. Their unsettling after story is relayed in interviews with them, archival footage and recreations of their experiences. They are natural story tellers and actors and the sad reveal of their post eighties fame unravels with regrets, poignancy, pathos and an overpowering sense of their losses and their tragedy.

In the end, you regret the fact that they never had the chance to make it better or be a true family.

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