Tell Me Who I Am opens up on a tragedy: in 1982, Alex Lewis woke up from a three-month coma after a motorcycle crash and can remember nothing about his life except for one thing: the challenge of his similar twin brvarious other, Marcus Lewis. The new documentary about the brothers, which debuted on Netflix on Oct. 18 complying with a effective festival run, slowly unspools the results of a decision made by Marcus, all of a sudden the holder of every one of his brother’s memories, to paint a snapshot of a happy life—withholding the truth that their mom had actually aboffered the boys throughout their childhoods.

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Shot in a studio space constructed for the brothers to confront, for the initially, the emotional distance brought on by the secrets Marcus retained, the film offers a strikingly intimate portrait of the now middle-aged twins coming to terms with the facts of their resides.

“It played out choose a mental thriller. And yet it was true,” Ed Perkins, the film’s director, tells “I was fascinated by the themes of brotherhood, the blurring of truth and fiction, memory and the question of that we are if we shed our memory.”

Between Alex and also Marcus lie decades of guilt, confusion and deep sadness over what’s continued to be unshelp. As the males define in the film, after 18-year-old Alex woke up from his coma unable to remember anything, from his very own name to wbelow he was, he reverted home with his family to begin rebuilding his identification.

“Imagine a babsence, empty space. You’ve lost everything in your life and you start from a blank canvas. Imagine just how scary that would be,” Marcus claims in the film. Back home, Alex encounters a life that he’s told is normal, through Marcus filling in all the details: he tells him wbelow to sleep, wright here to eat, wright here to go to the bathroom, and also so on. Alex depends entirely on Marcus to tell him about what happened in their resides, and also to bridge the gaps via childhood photos and TV reflects that sell concepts around just how normal families attribute.

Years pass as Alex grows cshed through his household without really questioning indications that others can see as suspicious. The twins, for instance, live in a burned on their family’s property, and also they don’t have keys to the primary house. Their father is stern and distant, while their mommy continues to be in denial that her child has actually shed his memory, particularly of her role in his life.

“What you can ask is, ‘Sudepend you realize this is not just how other civilization live?"” says Perkins. “But that was all he kbrand-new. Try and put yourself in his shoes. You wake up and you have absolutely nopoint, no memories at all, no reference allude for anything. The just point you have is that bond via your brvarious other.”

Alex believes their household is “normal” until after his mother’s death, when he finds concealed in her belongings a photograph of him and Marcus as boys, showing them from naked the neck dvery own, with the strip of the photograph containing their encounters cut off. He asks Marcus if they were absupplied as children, which Marcus confirms without giving any kind of additional details.

And so, Alex’s life, already facility by his shed memories, descends better right into an enigma that goes unrefixed until the 3rd act of Tell Me Who I Am, when Marcus deals with his brvarious other and lays bare the details of the trauma they skilled. Marcus describes in the film that he made a decision to hide their mother’s comprehensive sexual abuse of the boys in an effort to safeguard his brvarious other. This repression additionally felt prefer a way to safeguard himself, pushing amethod the pain of confronting his trauma.

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The Lewis brothers wrote around their experience in a book of the very same name publiburned in 2013, but left out the details that make the last act of the film—the minute of confrontation between the brothers—so emotional. Perkins states the scene in which the brothers concerned a complete expertise of what happened in their resides came after years of him acquiring to know both guys and gleaning that Marcus “knew deep down he hadn’t provided his brother what he really needed.”

The director claims he invested about three years just acquiring to know the guys before beginning any filming. “We were able to spend most just structure a connection of trust, and also that’s been so helpful to producing an environment wbelow they felt they might have actually conversations in a means they hadn’t prior to. It’s been a genuine journey. Tright here were a number of katifund.orgs as soon as Alex and Marcus pulled out of the project.”

In Perkins’ watch, after speaking at size with both guys, Alex necessary his brother to provide him all the indevelopment so he’d understand who he really was. Marcus, according to Perkins, agreed to have the crucial conversation, eventually saying, “I don’t want to be silent anyeven more.”

Today, Perkins reports, Marcus and also Alex, “live remarkable and also emotionally affluent lives. They’re impressive fathers and husbands. It’s exceptionally motivating for me to see world that have gone via more than you’d wish on anybody and also yet resolutely refusage to be identified as victims. I really hope audiences are left with a feeling of hopefulness.”

Tell Me Who I Am is a daunting watch that contains graphic details around son sexual abusage. But Alex and also Marcus’ story is a testament to the relief that deserve to come from speaking horrors out loud. Both guys had actually lost the undefinable psychological bond sassist to connect identical twins in the “gulf of expertise in between them,” according to Perkins.

“Now, they’ve gained that bond ago,” he claims. “There isn’t anypoint in between them anymore.”