I found the idea of these real-life silent twins intriguing. I was especially interested in the fact that Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance were starring in the film as the titular characters. Both actresses are excellent performers. When I watched the film, I found the animated sequences full of imagination, but the reasons for the pair’s silence were not well presented. I also found the story slower than I would have liked.
The film The Silent Twins, directed by Agnieszka Smoczyńska from a screenplay by Andrea Seigel, is based on the book of the same story by Marjorie Wallace. The Silent Twins is the true story of twin sisters June (Letitia Wright) and Jennifer (Tamara Lawrance), who only communicated with each other. As a result, they created a rich, fascinating world to escape the isolation and reality of their own world. The girls vie over their accomplishments and a boy, leading them to destructive behavior and a mental hospital.
One of the elements I liked the best was the use of animated sequences to illustrate the creations and imagination of sisters June and Jennifer. The animation is incredibly well created, and the stories the girls create are wonderfully thought-provoking. The animation goes far to show the thoughts of the sisters and what sets them apart from the others around them.
The story itself is astounding. The sisters, June and Jennifer, slowly cease talking to others, growing closer to the point that when the pair is sent to a special education school and are separated, they refuse to eat and go catatonic. Once back together, the pair only become closer, delving into writing and creating their own worlds. But the pair fall for an American boy, becoming rivals for his affection. The girls fall into destructive behavior and crime, leading them to a mental hospital. The girls must resolve their issues if they ever want to be released. The story is a fascinating presentation of codependence but also a wonderful bond between the pair.
The pieces that shine in this movie are purely due to the actresses playing June and Jennifer. Both have worked to create believable accents, and their performances are evocative and emotional. The dynamic between the two is strong, and the pair truly feel like sisters. Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance do an incredible job of portraying two women with extraordinary imaginations but an inability to cope with reality. Their performances are stellar and the best part of the film. The supporting cast is excellent as well, but the primary focus of the film is on Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance, and they are beautiful together.
What weighs down the film the most is the slowness of the film and the tendency to drag the film down into the most tedious aspects of the story. The first half of the movie does show how the sisters interact with each other and their imagination. However, it does little to show that the reason for their behavior is due to isolation. This is only clear in reflection. Much of their behavior is unclear, other than to illustrate that they are unable to function in the real world. The scenes in the mental hospital drag and are too slow. The presence of Marjorie just lends a flavor of white savior as the sisters’ sole point of contact while in the hospital. It leaves the end of the story stilted and hard to follow. Despite that, the performances do make up for the slowness of the film.
If you like true stories with psychological elements or Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance, you might enjoy this film. The performances are excellent, and the animated sequences add wonder and whimsy to the film. While I did find parts that dragged, I found the story of this pair fascinating, and it did make me want to find out more about June and Jennifer. I did like those elements.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stories
Official Website: The Silent Twins | Official Website | September 16 2022
The Silent Twins
Based on the lives of June and Jennifer Gibbons, real-life identical twins who grew up in Wales, part of the only Black family in a small town. The two became known as “the silent twins” because of their refusal to communicate with anyone other than each other. They developed their own language and became catatonic when separated. The story takes place after a spree of vandalism inspired by an American boy they both idolize, when the girls, now teenagers, are sentenced to Broadmoor, an infamous psychiatric hospital, where they face the choice to separate and survive or die together.
THE SILENT TWINS opens in theaters on Friday, September 16, 2022.
ONE-LINER: THE SILENT TWINS is the astounding true story of twin sisters who only communicated with one another and created a rich, fascinating world to escape the reality of their own lives.