Directed by: Agnieszka Smoczyńska
Distributed by: Focus Features
Written by Alexander Reams
The true story of Jennifer and June Gibbons is a tragic one, finding connection through only each other, while not speaking to anyone else. Their accounts of their childhood are full of bullying, meanness, and racist remarks because of the color of their skin. But in each other, they found not only themselves but a new world that they explored throughout their lifetime. Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s follow-up to her entry in the anthology horror “The Field Guide to Evil” and her last feature, “The Lure” is a foray into drama, a first for the horror filmmaker. We are introduced to June (Letitia Wright) and Jennifer Gibbons (Tamera Lawrence), the titular silent twins.
For a film that is trying to shine a light on two sisters’ journey from childhood to adulthood, it never once stops and breathes, instead checking off plot points like a machine, the new teacher who tries to get them to talk, the shunning from parents who no longer want to care for them, the separation of the sisters at the boarding school, and eventually the psych facility. Smoczyńska is competent behind the camera, blocking the shots with the new psychologist, Tim Thomas (Michael Smiley) like it’s a horror movie, adding tension and an underlying theme of dread from that point on. However, it’s Andrea Seigel’s jilted script that makes the sisters hard to identify with and care about, because of the heavy-handed sympathetic tone that every other character speaks with. It’s a real shame because Letitia Wright and Tamera Lawrence feel like sisters, their relationship is believable and you want to care about them, but after the film ends you might find yourself asking, why? Why should I care about them? While “The Silent Twins” as a whole suffered from a lethargic script, its lead performances, and the special appearance by Michael Smiley, are all great, but it’s held back by its writing, which is ironic considering the film is about two sisters who were writers.
“The Silent Twins” Trailer