There’s a bit of a chill in the air and, to me, that means it’s time to break out the darker movies. If you love biopics, independent dramas, hints of psychological thrillers without going full blown horror… then The Silent Twins is the perfect way to enter a season of stories that will stick with you.
Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance play real-life twins June and Jennifer Gibbons, respectively. The film, directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska, tells the puzzling tale of these 1960s-born twins and the world they created for themselves. June and Jennifer would only speak to one another, and eventually, a handful of others. Why? It’s really unclear. That’s not a criticism of the movie, however. No one knows exactly why June and Jennifer lived the way they did.
Wright and Lawrance seem to perfectly understand the twins’ world…at least as far as anyone can. Both young actresses give outstanding performances that really help audiences see through their eyes. The script is based on a book by British journalist Marjorie Wallace (who earned the twins’ trust enough to document them) and written by Andrea Seigel. Seigel’s version allows viewers to witness the twins as they group up – through the stories they create together, separation, their sudden bursts of violence, extreme and wild destruction as teenagers, and into their late twenties as they are placed in a mental health hospital. It’s heartbreaking to see the lack of help they received from their community and schools at the time (The Silent Twins takes place in the UK; the family is originally from Barbados), and the traumas they endured as a result.
The twins created their own world to escape to and you’ll see a lot of that on screen. Through the use of stop-motion sequences and even original songs, we see some of their real poems, plays and diary entries come to life. This unique approach really gives viewers two stories – the one the twins saw and the one everyone else saw.
The Silent Twins is just under two hours long, which is long enough. The true story of the Gibbons twins is obviously much deeper than the bits we see on screen, but that shouldn’t discourage you from seeing the film. This is an absolutely fascinating true story that will lead you deep into Wikipedia when you get home…maybe you’ll even find out more about June Gibbons’ rare, self-published novel, The Pepsi Cola Addict. Consider The Silent Twins a launching pad and get ready to discover so much more about this phenomenal set of sisters.
The Silent Twins, from Focus Features, opens on September 16th.