Rob Reviews "The Silent Twins"
In a strange case from the 1970s, twins June and Jennifer Gibbons became a fascinating story due to the fact that they would not communicate with anyone else but each other. Not even their immediate family could get them to talk outside of very limited written communication. If the story ended there, it may not have been much to talk about, but as their lives progressed things got crazier and crazier, and after British journalist Marjorie Wallace published a novel of their story, director Agniezka Smoczynska has adapted it into “The Silent Sisters”.
Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrence spend most of the time in the roles of the sisters (respectively), the tale begins earlier than their portrayals with two other actresses with seamless transition. The twins also aspired to become famous authors, and one of the very interesting things about this film is how both the visuals and soundtrack take concepts and ideas from their doodling and writings and interweave them into the story itself with the actresses even doing the voiceovers in the songs as well as the narration. This is a VERY dark film (which seems to be the forte of the director) that even got uncomfortable for me in a couple of spots.
From a pacing standpoint, I am not sure if it dragged for me because I accidentally got the ending spoiled for me or if there seemed to be a couple of “false endings” here, but I definitely felt all one hundred and thirteen minutes of “The Silent Sisters”. The performances here are strong from both Wright and Lawrence showing their characters dynamic shift from time to time as each sister strived to be the “alpha” in their relationship depending on the situation while at the same time being very protective of each other to any of the outside world. There is also a good performance (albeit very brief) here by “Luther” regular Michael Smiley as a school counselor that genuinely wants to help the twins regardless of the resistance they put up.
There is a level to arthouse that “The Silent Sisters” puts forth that may not get this to a broader audience, but this is a film that I feel should be seen from a character study standpoint if nothing else. The main thing to understand here is to be fully aware of what you are getting into before you get into it without doing enough research to (as I mentioned earlier) have anything spoiled in order to stay in the moment as this story unfolds.