Thursday, July 16, 2015

Twinsters: Divided at Birth, United by the Internet

It sounds like a jokey internet meme, but twins separated at birth is clearly a more frequent phenomenon than we might have previously assumed. Thanks to the internet, we now know better. That is how Samantha Futerman was introduced to her twin, Anaïs Bordier, currently residing in London. Recognizing the value of her story for other adoptees, Futerman and co-director-cinematographer Ryan Miyamoto documented the twins’ getting-to-know-you process and their eventual search for their Korean birth mother in Twinsters (trailer here), which opens tomorrow in New York.

Futerman’s acting career was going comparatively well, all things considered, but Bordier’s friend actually saw her in a web video rather than 21 & Over or The Big C. Needless to say, he found the resemblance uncanny. Soon, the two suspected twins are skyping and compulsively texting each other. Neither of their adoption records mentions any siblings, yet there are similar inconsistencies in their files that only encourage their suspicions.

It would probably be spoilery to reveal the outcome of the DNA testing, but the fact that it happens midway through the film should give you a clue, as should the film’s very existence. Despite Bordier’s initial reluctance, they will indeed travel back to Korea (which really ought to cinch it for you). It is there the film really kicks in emotionally when they meet the two very giving women who served as their foster mothers before adoption.

It is good that the film has those moments, because it needs more of that sort of lift. Twinsters arrives in theaters roughly nine months after the PBS broadcast of Mona Friis Bertheussen’s Twin Sisters, which is much more engaging, because its subjects are younger and still coming to grips with who they are and how they perceive the world. They are really nice kids, whereas the “Twinsters” are grown adults, whose discovery of each other isn’t so very dramatic. As a result, the later film suffers in comparison.

Still, their encounters in Korea are quite touching. The film finally gives foster mothers some of their just due, which is a good thing. Nevertheless, the first two acts have a lot of texting and not a lot of heft. There is a built in sibling audience for the well intentioned and reasonably pleasant Twinster, but they will find Twin Sisters more rewarding. For adoptees who relate, Twinsters opens tomorrow (7/17) in New York, at the AMC Empire.