A true story gets its cinematic adaptation too The silent twins. This biographical drama follows June and Jennifer Gibbons, two twin sisters who only speak to each other and not to the rest of the world. It opens with the characters talking animatedly to each other, but quickly changes to show that their interactions are internal. Unfortunately, the rest of the film never rises above this creativity. The silent twins is a well-directed but uninteresting story that fails to live up to the premise’s promise.
There are many aspects to appreciate about a film like The silent twins. A film without merit doesn’t just have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. There are positive aspects to the film, such as Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s direction. She elevates the script beyond what it is on the page by using a solid vision and style to tell this real story. Her use of cool lighting in the film perfectly complements the dark, tragic nature of the tale. It’s easy to notice when the lighting turns warm, and Smoczyńska uses this contrast superbly. She and cinematographer Jakub Kijowski create a well-shot film with a lot of visual storytelling.
Also, the idea of a story where the main characters don’t talk to anyone but themselves is promising. There’s a lot a filmmaker can do with silence, but the script never delivers. The fact that the Gibbons twins are both writers who express themselves not through words but works of fiction has a lot of possible staying power. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t get much mileage out of its stop-motion narrative sequences without capitalizing on the emotion and drama that can come from this premise.
The silent twins never fully delves into the drama that can arise between parents who can’t communicate with their children. There are a few tragic, well-acted scenes, but the film doesn’t lean enough into those emotions to create a compelling narrative. Once the characters and conflicts are established, the film runs out of things to say. As a result, there isn’t enough meat on the bones of this story to justify a feature film. Instead, this film tells a story you’d rather learn about in a five-minute YouTube documentary than a feature that runs for nearly two hours.
While the Gibbons twins are fascinating by nature, the film surrounding them is pretty unremarkable. There is an odd romance story that hardly leads to any conflict. The filmmakers wanted you to feel sorry for how society treats the twins, but there isn’t enough nuance in the script to make the audience care about them. It is challenging to build an emotional attachment to two characters who barely speak and The silent twins never lands the pathos it pursues. The strongest elements of this film are Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrence’s phenomenal, subdued performances as the twins.
At best, The silent twins can be a well-crafted tragedy with inventive camera movements and direction. At worst, it’s a dull film that grasps at straws to tell a story that doesn’t feel emotionally strong. Even the ending, which features an exciting event, feels thematically empty. The surface narration of this real-life story never guarantees a movie that ends up being worth watching. As a result, there is nothing about this film worth recommending, even though it has a gripping story behind it.
Like ComingSoon’s audit policy explains, a score of 4 corresponds to “Bad”. The negatives outweigh the positives, making it a struggle to get through.