In Tell Me Who I Am, life changes dramatically for 18 year old twin brothers Alex and Marcus Lewis. Following a motorcycle accident that leaves Alex with very little memory, Marcus has to decide whether to tell his brother the horrific truth of their childhood or make up a whole new idilic one. Marcus opts for the latter – for reasons including recounting the truth would simply be too much for himself to bear, let alone his twin brother who’s in an extremely vulnerable state.
Fast forward to the present day, several decades later, and though the brothers have written a book about their heartbreaking story, Marcus still hasn’t shared everything with his brother, that is until this documentary. Through the use of old photographs, interviews with both brothers – separately and together, we get to watch an extraordinary story of love, trauma, memory, personal responsibility and healing.
There were definitely moments during director Ed Perkins’s film that had me wishing for the story to move along a little faster. Nevertheless, I don’t regret sitting through all of it. And the reason I won’t be forgetting Tell Me Who I Am any time soon is not so much about the horror of what Alex and Marcus were forced to endure, both inside and out of their family home, a home which quite frankly looks like the set of a nightmare inducing horror film. No.
Tell Me Who I Am will stay with me for the same reason director Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate (2019) – the biography of celebrated Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh stays with me. The gift and blessing of siblinghood. Or, more specifically in this case, brotherhood.
I’m almost certain that both Van Gogh and Alex would not have survived much longer without their truly loving brothers. Not to say that Marcus did everything exactly right, but considering all the hurt and trauma he was carrying, how could one really be surprised by his choices?
Lastly, Tell Me Who I Am certainly isn’t ’easy viewing.’ Watch it for a better understanding of the human experience that will likely make you grateful for the existence of good siblings, blood related or otherwise.
Happy Film Loving