Mistaken for Strangers

Mistaken for Strangers ★★★½

I was drawn to this charming little documentary based on comparisons to Anvil! and This is Spinal Tap. For me it didn’t end up being quite as enjoyable as either of those…but it’s also so different than both of those films, that I think comparisons are a bit unfair.

We follow the younger brother of the lead singer of The National as he joins the band as a roadie, but is intent on making a documentary about the band and the tour (in the process pissing off the band manager by not ever doing his job right). Tom is a love-able guy…as others have mentioned, he’s very Scotty J from Boogie Nights...he means well with everything he does, but often comes off as a bit of an aloof goofball. Meanwhile his brother Matt is very successful and popular…herein lies what makes this movie successful, is that the film soon becomes a story about Tom trying to escape the shadow of Matt and find his calling in the world.

While this isn’t as straight up crazy or over the top as something like Anvil! it is immensely more sincere feeling and heartwarming. You really feel the guy as he tries to put together his movie and seems to always shoot himself in the foot throughout the process. There were certainly moments ranging from cringe-worthy to heartbreakingly sincere. That being said, it does also lag a bit at certain points, which is why I rated it a bit lower. Overall, it becomes something that really isn’t about music at all but about a relationship between two brothers…and I can dig that. Very well worth checking out.