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Another brilliant portrayal by Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo
Warning: Some spoilers ahead
Based on the 1996 bestselling book by Wally Lamb, the HBO limited six-part series stars Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo (Avengers) who plays identical twin brothers Thomas and Dominick Berdsey. Dominick, the loyal yet conflicted one, narrates his steadfast relationship with his schizophrenic brother, Thomas, relentlessly grappling with being his “caretaker” while embracing—and discovering—his own identity. He takes us back to their childhood and young adulthood with poignant yet powerful moments from the past and present illustrating how mental illness impacts a family.
The Field Trip
His plight starts as early as third grade. Dominick recalls their third-grade field trip to the Statue of Liberty where little Thomas gets locked inside the bathroom toilet. He laments, “My brother ruins everything… Kids were looking at me, too, not just Thomas. Everybody’s disappointed.” Dominick shares his exasperation yet stays with him to take care of him. This has been their unique relationship ever since, where nobody gets left behind, even amid the obvious, heartbreaking struggle.
Before their mother dies after discovering a lump on her breast which metastasized to her entire body, she speaks her last words to Dominick. She pleads with him, “You take care of your brother, promise me?” He vows not to give up on the people he loves, in sickness and in health. This loyalty is illustrated through the alliance of the brothers through the years.
Throughout his adulthood, Dominick carves a path of his own separate from Thomas, not out of resentment but to discover life outside of the familiar. He builds a family, gets a meaningful job but there are remnants of Thomas he needs to face every now and then.
During a session with Thomas’ psychiatrist Dr. Patel (Archie Panjabi) in the asylum—following a gruesome incident—Dominick realizes the inevitable. She observes, “You’re his mirror image to speak, his healthy self, a part himself that is free from the burden of himself. You are he, and he is you.” He bears the guilt of being everything he isn’t.
In I Know This Much Is True, there is conflict wrapped in love and obligation. The two brothers, although they try to go their separate ways, always end up nurturing and believing the best about each other. And so this is love, this is family.
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