‘Three Identical Strangers’ Examines What Makes Us Who We Are

Documentary Explores Nature Versus Nurture Through the Lives of Reunited Separated Triplets

<em>Three Identical Strangers</em>

On his first day of college, Robert Safran was mistaken for Eddie Galland. That same night, Robert drove all the way to Eddie’s house to discover that they were, in fact, twins. They connect immediately, and when a newspaper runs their story, a third stranger, David Kellman, comes “out of the woodwork” as the third triplet. And they were delighted and inseparable — at first. Three Identical Strangers portrays the adult lives of the three men who discover by chance that they were identical triplets separated at birth. In the 1980s, the brother’s heartwarming reunion became an instant and well-chronicled media sensation, which turned disturbing when they realized they were part of a group of identical siblings separated by an adoption agency as part of a psychological study that remains unpublished to this day.

Using archival footage, dramatic reenactments, and investigative interviews and research, the documentary poses the “nature versus nurture” question and explores the enduring consequences of institutional overreach through the adult lives of the reunited triplets. Like Diane Arbus’ unsettling photographs of identical siblings, this film refracts the inherent uncanniness of the triplets and their story and complicates our notion of the conditions that make us who we are.


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