What Tell Me Who I Am is all about without spoiling the show
The documentary Tell Me Who I Am is exactly what it presents itself to be: a mystery. We begin with a man waking up from a car wreck with no knowledge of who he is or what happened. He later finds out some answers, including the fact that he has a twin brother. He finds solace in this, growing to trust his twin and live the next part of his life relying on him each day as he finds some kind of normalcy.
Years pass and he slowly adjusts to life with the help of his twin. The two have very different reactions to the passing of their parents. We later find out why.
Because this is a mostly spoiler-free review, I won’t open up that curtain to reveal it. I want you to watch this documentary instead.
What was good about Tell Me Who I Am
This is one of the simplest documentaries you will find. Only two people, the twins, speak on camera. There are some photos from their past and there is the usual B-roll footage found in most documentaries to supplement the talking heads. The simple concept works for this documentary as only they could tell their story.
It’s clear about a third of the way through that the parents were the problem. How bad were they? We have to wait until halfway through to learn some of the truth.
The build up in this documentary leads to the final act where the twins finally sit together and discuss what they need from each other. Finally, after 30 years, the twin who remembers their childhood is ready to tell the horrific details of what went on. Although it has been hinted about by the point the reveal comes, hearing in his own words the horrors the two experienced as children and some specific details about it makes this a grim documentary.
What could have made Tell Me Who I Am better
The documentary didn’t feel long, however, it did take a long time to get to the point. Having already revealed the bones of the childhood trauma hidden between twins, the last 40 minutes or so is more about the relationship between the two and why one wants more information and why the other cannot share it.
The only fix for this issue may have been for a shorter documentary. There are plenty of documentaries that fail to nudge themselves over the one-hour mark. If Tell Me Who I Am removed some of the filler, I think the flow could have been better.
Overall Score: 8 out of 10
Tell Me Who I Am thrives on its simplicity but it’s also a bit drawn out which is the only true knock against it. It’s powerful, emotional, and the kind of documentary you will search online about to learn if it’s true or not. It apparently is. It’s a good watch but a heavy one.
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