Mistaken for Strangers

Mistaken for Strangers

Tom Berninger (2013)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Tom Berninger's candid, funny and surprisingly touching documentary charts his experiences as a roadie with his older brother Matt's band, moody US indie rockers The National, as they embark on a year-long world tour. But it's clear from the start that this affable but gaff-prone, heavy metal-lovin' guy is very much the square peg in the operation: his inept handling of his duties (including losing the celebrity guest at the band's LA gig), hard-partying ways and general lack of tour etiquette make him more of a liability than a help. Tom's amateurish attempts to interview the band ("How fast can you play?" "What drugs have you taken?") add to the Spinal Tap-style amusement. But it soon becomes clear that this isn't just a video diary of life on the road; it's a personal rumination on Tom's relationship with his successful sibling that throws up big questions about his own self worth. His predilection for using rehearsal takes over anything too polished gives the film an honest and (intentionally) naive charm, capturing a less earnest side of The National in the process. But it's the scenes detailing Tom's efforts to bring all the material together that demonstrate what he's really capable of, and they give the film its satisfying pay-off.


Documentary following rock band the National, shot by Tom Berninger, brother of lead singer Matt. As the group reach new heights of success, they embark on their biggest ever tour with Tom acting as road manager. The film documents the concerts and provides an insight into the relationship between the brothers.

Cast & Crew

Tom Berninger Tom Berninger
Matt Berninger Matt Berninger
Aaron Dessner Aaron Dessner
Bryce Dessner Bryce Dessner
Bryan Devendorf Bryan Devendorf
Scott Devendorf Scott Devendorf
Director Tom Berninger
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Dogwoof PicturesGuidance: Swearing.Released on: 27 Jun 2014