The Strange Tale of Three Identical Strangers: Cinematic Lessons in Bioethics

Bryanna Moore, Jeremy R. Garrett, Leslie Ann McNolty, Maria Cristina Murano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Tim Wardle’s 2018 documentary film Three Identical Strangers is an exploration of identity, family, and loss. It’s also about nature versus nurture and the boundaries of ethically permissible research, particularly research involving children. The film tells the story of identical triplets who were separated soon after birth in 1961. A different family adopted each boy, without being told that their son had two identical brothers. The adoption agency responsible for finding the families was collaborating with a group of researchers working on a study about … something. Three Identical Strangers details the boys’ fight to obtain information about the study and for closure. But while the film may have received rave reviews, it left us feeling uneasy. We came away with two sets of questions, one having to do with the story that the film documents and the second with the ethics of filmmaking itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-23
Number of pages3
JournalHastings Center Report
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'The Strange Tale of Three Identical Strangers: Cinematic Lessons in Bioethics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this