Now streaming on Netflix, this documentary from Oscar-nominated director Ed Perkins follows a motorcycle crash victim’s attempts to remember who he is through his twin brother. As Liam Maguren details, it’s a fascinating story with a stirring conclusion.
True-story tale Tell Me Who I Am has one hell of a hook. As a teenager, Alex woke up from a motorcycle incident with almost total amnesia. Unable to remember his own name, Alex somehow recognised his identical twin Marcus immediately. This miraculous moment of #twinning fascinates and their seemingly otherworldly connection recalls last year’s superb Three Identical Strangers. However, as the only person able to fill in Alex’s missing memories, Marcus tainted the kinship when he showed signs of being an unreliable narrator.
The first act lets Alex, now in middle-age, share his trippy experiences of living a life akin to being thrust on a public stage with a script he’s never read. Social events, as Alex recalls, were treated like an exam where his brother would help cram him with notes on names, personalities and relationships. It’s all rather light-hearted (despite one rather uncomfortable instance regarding his girlfriend at the time) until one unopened family draw makes Alex question everything.
That’s where Marcus takes over for the second act to explain the awful situation that divided them, though to share anymore plot at this point would greatly dampen this movie’s effect. Having told their tale in the 2013 novel of the same name, the brothers prove compelling on-camera storytellers too with Ed Perkins (Oscar-nominated director of excellent short doc Black Sheep) visually assisting their details beautifully but without obstruction. Though he wisely refrains from depicting the darker turns of the story, viewers with triggers will want to check the content advisory before diving in.
In its final act, the film goes beyond the book by placing the brothers face-to-face as they attempt to mend what was torn just by talking things through. It may sound straightforward but make no mistake—this raw display of male vulnerability strikes the heart and all its arteries. A stirring example of how emotional openness and the simple act of listening can help heal years of psychological damage, Tell Me Who I Am is an incredibly moving experience that men, in particular, should witness and absorb.