Tell Me who I Am opens on a tragedy: in 1982, Alex Lewis wake up up from a three-month coma after ~ a motorcycle crash and also could remember nothing around his life other than for one thing: the face of his identical twin brother, Marcus Lewis. The brand-new documentary around the brothers, i beg your pardon debuted top top Netflix top top Oct. 18 complying with a effective festival run, gradually unspools the after-effects of a decision made by Marcus, all of sudden the holder of all of his brother’s memories, to repaint a snapshot of a happy life—withholding the truth that your mother had actually abused the guys throughout their childhoods.

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Shot in a studio an are built for the brothers to confront, for the very first, the emotionally distance carried on through the tricks Marcus kept, the film uses a strikingly intimate portrait the the currently middle-aged pair coming to terms with the facts of your lives.

“It play out like a psychological thriller. And yet it to be true,” Ed Perkins, the film’s director, tells “I was fascinated through the themes of brotherhood, the blurring of fact and fiction, memory and also the inquiry of who we space if we shed our memory.”

Between Alex and Marcus lie decades of guilt, confusion and deep sadness over what’s stayed unsaid. Together the men explain in the film, after ~ 18-year-old Alex wake up up from his coma can not to psychic anything, indigenous his own name to whereby he was, that returned house with his household to start rebuilding his identity.

“Imagine a black, north space. You’ve lost every little thing in her life and you begin from a empty canvas. Imagine just how scary that would certainly be,” Marcus states in the film. Ago home, Alex to meet a life that he’s told is normal, through Marcus filling in all the details: he speak him where to sleep, where to eat, whereby to walk to the bathroom, and so on. Alex relies fully on Marcus come tell him around what taken place in your lives, and also to bridge the gaps v childhood photos and TV reflects that market ideas about how normal family members function.

Years pass together Alex grow close v his household without yes, really questioning signs that others might see together suspicious. The twins, because that example, live in a burned on their family’s property, and also they don’t have keys to the main house. Their father is stern and also distant, if their mom remains in denial the her son has lost his memory, an especially of her function in his life.

“What you could ask is, ‘Surely you establish this is not just how other people live?"” claims Perkins. “But the was all he knew. Shot and placed yourself in his shoes. You wake up and you have actually absolutely nothing, no memories at all, no reference suggest for anything. The just thing you have is that bond with your brother.”

Alex trust their family is “normal” till after his mother’s death, once he finds covert in her belongings a photograph of him and also Marcus together boys, showing them native naked the neck down, through the strip of the photo containing your faces reduced off. That asks Marcus if they to be abused as children, which Marcus confirms without offering any additional details.

And so, Alex’s life, already complex by his lost memories, descends more into a an enig that goes unresolved till the third act of phone call Me who I Am, once Marcus encounters his brother and lays ceiling the details of the trauma castle experienced. Marcus explains in the film that he made decision to hide their mother’s substantial sexual abuse the the boys in an attempt to protect his brother. This repression likewise felt prefer a way to safeguard himself, pushing away the ache of confronting his trauma.

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The Lewis brothers wrote about their endure in a book of the same name released in 2013, however left out the details the make the final act of the film—the moment of confrontation in between the brothers—so emotional. Perkins says the step in i m sorry the brothers involved a complete understanding the what taken place in their stays came after year of him gaining to recognize both men and gleaning that Marcus “knew deep down he hadn’t offered his brother what he really needed.”

The director claims he spent around three year just gaining to know the men prior to beginning any filming. “We to be able to invest a most just building a connection of trust, and also that’s been so advantageous to developing an environment where castle felt they might have conversations in a way they hadn’t before. It’s to be a actual journey. There to be a variety of katifund.orgs once Alex and Marcus pulled out of the project.”

In Perkins’ view, after speaking at size with both men, Alex essential his brother to provide him all the info so he’d recognize who he really was. Marcus, follow to Perkins, agreed to have actually the an important conversation, eventually saying, “I don’t want to be quiet anymore.”

Today, Perkins reports, Marcus and also Alex, “live incredible and emotionally rich lives. They’re impressive fathers and also husbands. It’s very inspiring because that me to see people who have gone through much more than you’d wish on anybody and also yet resolutely refuse come be characterized as victims. Ns really hope audiences space left through a emotion of hopefulness.”

Tell Me who I am is a difficult watch that has graphic details around child sex-related abuse. However Alex and also Marcus’ story is a testimony to the relief that can come from speak horrors out loud. Both men had actually lost the undefinable psychological bond claimed to affix identical pair in the “gulf that understanding between them,” follow to Perkins.

“Now, they’ve got that shortcut back,” he says. “There isn’t anything in between them anymore.”