‘Tell Me Who I Am’ Review: Twin Brothers Face an Awful Truth

The story of the British twin brothers Alex and Marcus Lewis in the documentary “Tell Me Who I Am” might have been concocted by the novelist Ian McEwan in one of his more unforgiving moods. Indeed, for the sake of the brothers themselves, one wishes their story were a fiction.

Alex was in his late teens when a motorcycle accident wiped out his memory, except for one thing: he recognized and knew his twin Marcus. He didn’t know his sprawling house, his odd parents, his nice girlfriend, anything else. He relied on Marcus, who reconstructed his past for him. Or rather, invented a past for him, removed from a horrific reality.

The Lewis brothers told their story in a 2013 book, which shares the title of this film directed by Ed Perkins. But the details were too appalling and painful for Marcus to share with Alex, even in that volume. This movie functions as a continuation of the book, and ends in a staggering sequence in which Marcus is finally able to relay the whole truth to his brother.

The two, who spend much of the movie directly addressing the camera, are — it seems weird to say this, but it’s true — pleasant cinematic company. They’re intelligent and well-spoken; they come off as more than decent people. Perkins shoots the brothers with low-key intimacy and inserts numerous staged scenes reconstructing events. But when they meet face-to-face for the camera, you may be wanting to know more about the behind-the-scenes process that got them there. Their moment of resolution at the end is very moving, but the movie also testifies that while love and forgiveness can ameliorate suffering, it can’t really wipe it all away.

Tell Me Who I Am

Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes.

Tell Me Who I Am

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