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“Three Identical Strangers:” A story unlike any other


“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.”  – Robert “Bobby” Shafran

The documentary “Three Identical Strangers” opens with this quote as Bobby Shafran sets the scene an unbelievable story of how in 1980 at age 19, Shafran and two other boys (David Kellman and Eddy Galland) from various parts of New York discovered they were triplets.  

This event was held in the Loyola-Notre Dame Library and was sponsored by the Messina program at Loyola. The film relates to the Messina “Self and Other” theme, as Bobby and Eddy find each other when they attend the same college. Though their transformation of self-discovery is more than the typical college student, Loyola audiences were able to see parallels in their own lives.  

David, Eddy, and Bobby were each adopted by different families from an adoption agency in New York called Louise Wise Services. The three grew up completely unaware that they were triplets, as did their families.

The story is narrated by Shafran and his brother, David Kellman, who begin the film talking about the disbelief and awe they felt upon hearing they were one of three triplets. They discuss the first time they met and the intense emotions they and their families felt. The three boys have become extremely well-known in New York; they’ve been on numerous talk shows, opened a successful restaurant, and seem to connect as though they’ve known each other all their lives.

Although everything seems to be going smoothly during the first few years the boys are together, the film reveals some shocking information that completely changes the lives of David, Eddy, and Bobby. Why were they separated at birth? It seems unnatural and unethical to split up three identical human beings. The answer to this question turns out to be a lot more complicated than expected, definitely keeping the viewer engaged in the film for its entire duration.

Besides having an intriguing and incredibly unique plot, “Three Identical Strangers” emphasizes how real life can often be stranger and more unbelievable than fiction. The director, Tim Wardle, does a remarkable job of engaging with the boys’ families and friends so that the viewer is able to get a true sense of David, Eddy, and Bobby as individuals and how truly different they are from one another because of their incredibly distinct upbringings.

This documentary exposed the unexpected twists and turns life can deliver in the blink of an eye. Upon their discovery, the lives of David, Eddy, and Bobby changed in ways they didn’t think were possible.



Feature Image: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

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“Three Identical Strangers:” A story unlike any other