Greetings! Have you ever wondered if a movie's worth blowing the money on to see at the theater or what to add next to your NetFlix queue? Then you've come to the right place! Enjoy!

"Tell Me Who I Am" Review

The setup for the documentary Tell Me Who I Am is summarized in the trailer below: At age 18, English teen Alex Lewis was in a motorcycle accident where his helmet came off, allowing his head to impact the pavement, putting him into a coma. When he awoke, he had total amnesia other than recognizing his identical twin brother Marcus. He didn't remember his mother, father, their home, nothing.Over ensuing months, Marcus rebuilt Alex's memories, showing him photos which allowed him to weave together a new history of the life he lived.

But there are oddities gnawing at the edges. Why is so much of the house off-limits? Why did they sleep in a "garden shed" instead of the main house, a dark, sprawling hulk of a mansion? Why wouldn't Marcus forgive their father when he asked for it as he was about to die of cancer when the twins were in their mid-20s?

When their mother died five years after their father, they were finally able to go through the house and discover its secrets and what they found raised ever more questions about their childhood. A wardrobe in a bathroom was packed with sex toys. In the attic they discovered an entire childhood of wrapped birthday and Christmas presents given by godparents and family which never made it to them. And in the back of a closet was a locked chest which contained a photo of the brothers at about age 10, nude, with their heads cut off. This last item prompts Alex to ask Marcus if their mother ever sexually molested them, to which Marcus silently nodded and refused to discuss further.

(This isn't really a spoiler because no one make a documentary about a happy, well-balanced family where everything was fine. You know going in something happened; the only question is the specifics.)

Director Ed Perkins tells this twisted tale in three acts with the first two consisting of the brothers speaking directly into the camera from their perspectives - Alex about trying to reclaim his life and Marcus explaining why he tried to shield his tabula rasa brother from the horrors they'd endured. The third act is their facing off in person with Alex demanding to know what happened to them, no matter how horrible the facts. And they're pretty horrible, even more so than implied.

Without spoiling the final details, it's some pretty grueling stuff, but after the big revelation, I couldn't help wonder why they didn't name names and act to take down this circle of upper crust monsters? Their education isn't mentioned; did they not go to school where teaches could notice problems? The filmmakers also omits a couple of huge details, namely that the twins' father wasn't their biological father (who'd died shortly after their birth) and that their mother had another boy and girl with her second husband, the man they called father. There is not a hint of their existence in the film.

While I understand director Perkins desire to focus on the twins, he gives a false sense of isolation to their lives. If the brothers had no one around to intervene, that would be one thing, but with half-siblings and a man who raised them, but allowed his wife to do what she did to her sons, is much more troubling.

While it's interesting to be a voyeur to the damage sexual abuse can wreak upon people into middle age - the brothers were 54 when this was filmed - a far more useful and cathartic resolution would've been them joining forces to expose and destroy those who abused them and clearly many, many more children. In taking too close a look, they miss the bigger troubling picture.

Score: 7/10. Watch it on Netflix.


Post a Comment

DirkFlix. Copyright 2010-2015 Dirk Omnimedia Inc. All rights reserved.
Free WordPress Themes Presented by EZwpthemes.
Bloggerized by Miss Dothy