The Silent Twins18
Although there’s no scientific proof of twins enjoying actual powers, such as telepathy, there’s no denying that many have a strong bond.
This film, starring Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance as real-life twins, shows a more vulnerable side to being so close to your sibling.
It started out at a young age, with June (Leah Mondesir-Simmonds) and Jennifer (Eva-Arianna Baxter) only being born ten minutes apart, with that probably being the longest time they’ve ever been separated.
The pair, sharing a room together, have made the choice to not share their voices with the rest of the family, or world for that matter, and only communicate with each other. This behaviour not only caused stress at home, but obviously at school too, where the pair were constantly bullied.
Now older, June (Wright) and Jennifer (Lawrance) are no different, refusing to speak in the company of others. And although they share a unique bond that’s brimming with creativity, the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way, as it does all it can to break them.
There always appears to be a fascination surrounding twins, but this absorbing film, based on the book of the same name by British journalist Marjorie Wallace, takes it to a whole new level, with these real life twins in the spotlight.
For the first ten minutes Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska, with her first English language film, deceives the audiences into thinking that this is going to be a joyous experience, with her two young versions of the sisters completely having a ball on screen. It’s almost a shame to move along from them having so much fun, as the two young stars are so enjoyable to watch.
The mood swiftly changes however, as the reality of the situation sets in. By sharing such a high level of intimacy with one another, the twins completely isolate themselves from the rest of their surroundings.
As if their world isn’t bleak enough, the film is set in England, in the late seventies/early eighties, and despite much of the film being shot in the director’s home land of Poland, she captures that omnipresent greyness that existed at the time.
There’s a curious quirkiness to proceedings, which also trickles down to the performances of its two leads, with both impressing equally, which is useful as they’re playing twins. Perhaps it’s down to Smoczynska’s unique vision, which not only includes a truly dowdy England, but also intriguing stop motion animation too.
It’s this particular look and feel to the whole film that makes it a somewhat disconcerting experience. It’s all a little distant and chilled, no doubt deliberately so, with the twins not only keeping their world on the outside, but us too.
Still, although not exactly engaging and a bit on the stilted side, the twins’ story isn’t only a fascinating one, it’s told by Smoczynska in such a bold, creative fashion that you won’t be able to tear yourself away from them.