Directed by Ed Perkins, Tell Me Who I Am tells the story of when 18-year-old Alex Lewis wakes up from a coma after surviving a motorcycle accident to a world that he doesn’t remember. He has forgotten everything: his home, his parents. He can’t even remember his own name. The only thing he does know is that the person sitting next to him is his identical twin brother, Marcus. Alex relies on Marcus to to give him his memory back; to tell him who he is. But the idyllic childhood Marcus paints for his twin conceals a dark family secret. Now, after decades of hiding the painful realities of their past, Alex and Marcus go on a journey together to face the truth and finally discover who Alex really is.
I’ve just sat and watched this in Costa and had to fight to hold back the tears, although I think the shock on my face was still noticeable. What a heartbreaking twist this was.
But as shocking as Marcus’ actions are, I think I would do the same. Just like the uncompromising decision in Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, is it better to erase the pain from your memory and be free? Or is it from having to remember such torturous details of our past that we learn to move on and grow? I wouldn’t want to know with hindsight, but I guess it’s also the fact of being lied to that Alex has had to deal with, as well, which is also difficult to overcome.
It’s a wonderfully staged documentary as director Ed Perkins allows the two men to share their stories, providing Marcus with a platform to finally tell Alex the truth. Knowing that something harrowing is going to be revealed from the start, its set-up is suspenseful and full of mystery, but at its core is a profoundly moving and thought-provoking story. It’s definitely one that I would struggle to sit through again, but it’s one that I admire Marcus for sharing.