Tuesday, September 16, 2014


One of the most insightful documentaries about music that has come out in recent years has got to be Tom Berninger’s “Mistaken For Strangers”.   

The movie is an in-depth look of a tale of two brothers living different lives while trying to understand one’s strengths and failures as they grow together in real life.  The brothers in question are Tom Berninger himself and his rock and roll superstar brother, Matt Berninger, who is the lead singer of the Grammy nominated alternative group “The National”.

In this film, we see the behind the scenes look at Tom envying the glamorous and the “successful” life that his brother Matt leads, while accompanying him on tour as a roadie for their latest tour.   Personalities clash, tempers flare, and emotions arise as one sees the fun and excitement of it all while others see it as a strict business transaction that must go to order as planned.

Another part of the film is Tom’s struggles to put together a quality documentary and body of work that he can be pleased at and at once feel like he has achieved “success”.    There are scenes where he feels like he hasn’t made it and wished like he was his “quarterback” brother that has got everything on a string except the kitchen sink, not knowing that he has strengths, qualities, and unique abilities that a “superstar” doesn’t have.

For Tom Berninger’s first film, this is an amazing film that is part family story, part rock documentary, and part social commentary that illustrates the message of what is “true success”.    The world sees rock stardom and performing to thousands of people as “successful”.   For those that live at home and make underground films, the world may not see it as a success.   Tom Berninger through its blood, toil, sweat and tears has created a portrait that illustrates effectively that when one is in the zone and does what they love, no matter what the setbacks, disappointments and curveballs thrown in their way, everyone is a success in their own unique ways.


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