This amazing triplet story could be the key to nature vs nurture

Kinderling News & Features

New movie, Three Identical Strangers follows the incredible story of triplets - Robert Shafran, Edward Galland, and David Kellman – who were adopted out of the Jewish adoption agency, Louise Wise Services at birth, to three separate families. Their adoptive parents didn’t know they were one of three and they were raised with no knowledge of their siblings.

That was until Robert (or Bobby) went to a community college where Edward (Eddy) had recently studied. While Bobby was perplexed at so many greetings from strangers, Eddy’s best friend came to see him and asked if he was adopted. After the two brothers reunited, the papers had a field day, which is how the third brother - David – realised that he was part of this incredible tale.

The fascination of multiples

Many people find twins or any multiple birth fascinating. I know I do. I find them fascinating from a parenting perspective – given that I find two children who were born several years apart a challenge, I can’t imagine how one manages two (or more) at the same age.

But this story is thought provoking in a deeper way, and will have you musing over the implications long after the credits roll.

Was separating the triplets at birth an inhumane, incomprehensible act, or one that can be understood in the context and era? 

Were the similarities between the triplets a sign of their genetic connection, or something they sought to highlight themselves?

Ultimately, the biggest and most perplexing question of the film is the influence of nature over nurture (or the other way around). Were the boys so similar because of their genetics? Did their different upbringings have an impact on how their story eventually turned out?

As a parent I’m intrigued by this of nature vs nurture. We strive to do our best by our kids - either by replicating how we were brought up (because it was good), or trying to change it (because it was not-so-good). But what if all our striving is irrelevant? What if everything that is contained in our children comes from their physical make-up? Something we gave them at conception?

It’s a disturbing question, and one that the film asks but doesn’t necessarily answer.

If you’re up for an incredible tale that leaves you thinking for days after, Three Identical Strangers is a great documentary to watch.

Three Identical Strangers will be released theatrically at Nova Cinemas in Melbourne from 30 August and Cremorne Orpheum in Sydney from 6 September.