Silent Twins Review: Surface Level Adaptation Soothes Agnieszka Smoczynska’s Style

Silent Twins Review: Surface Level Adaptation Soothes Agnieszka Smoczynska’s Style

Studios: Hire horror filmmakers to direct your eerie film based on a shocking true-crime slime. It’s the quickest way to make these projects interesting, even if it doesn’t guarantee they’ll be any good. Imagine if, for example, Spotlight replaced Tom McCarthy with Tobe Hooper. Sounds like an infinitely better movie, right?

Focus Features had the right idea when hiring Agnieszka Smoczynska to the silent twins, adapted from the book of the same name by journalist Marjorie Wallace about the twins June and Jennifer Gibbons. Growing up in a community where they felt rejected, June and Jennifer withdrew from the world at large, including their own family, and chose to only communicate with each other. Their story is captivating, supernatural on the page, stranger than most fiction, and a natural fit for genre cinema despite all that annoying “true” detail.

The problem is that Smoczynska brings her flame as hard as she can, and that’s just enough to guide the silent twins away from boredom. Given that movies like this are often tedious, this qualifies as a recommendation: Smoczynska has a personal point of view and sense of style, and neither is off-limits to influence. the silent twins‘ Production. But as talented as she is, the sound of her hands slapping the other side of the screen can be heard for most of the film’s 113 minutes. The particularities of the material give Smoczynska ample opportunity to show her creativity, but these same particularities keep her creativity in a cage she cannot get out of.

This does the silent twins a singularly frustrating experience. When Smoczynska manages to make an Agnieszka Smoczynska film, it’s captivating. When she gets to the point of doing a standard biopic, it’s a disappointment, although in disappointment mode, it’s still a pleasure that she was called upon. the silent twins‘ combination of innate unease and bonded sibling protagonists seems tailor-made to suit Smoczynska’s directing credentials; his best-known film, 2015 the bait, also fixates on sisters who live as outsiders and worries about the loss of voice as a subtheme. the difference is that the bait it’s about man-eating mermaids, and the silent twins decidedly not.

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Things get off to a pretty promising start, with a stop-motion credits sequence narrated by Leah Mondesir-Simmonds and Eva-Arianna Baxter, who respectively play childhood June and Jennifer. After naming the cast, including theirs, with a giggle, the silent twins watches the duo perform a make-believe radio show, bathed in warm, golden light until the moment their mother, Gloria (Nadine Marshall), steps into their music. Immediately, the bright color palette reverts to a dull, cloudy blue. Your imaginative bubble bursts. Dark everyday life rears its head uneventfully. So it goes. June and Jennifer are so ingrained in each other, and so adamant about opening up to strangers, that when they’re in the company of other people, they might as well be dead. They’re like skunks. They play dead. It’s how they deal.

“Cope” can be generous, especially as the sisters reach adolescence, when June is played by Letitia Wright and Jennifer is played by Tamara Lawrance. But this idea of ​​living death is so fascinating that the silent twins‘ the insistence on letting it go unexplored seems shameful. Smoczynska revels in roleplaying their inner lives through dream sequences, additional interstitial stop-motion and spooky DIY effects, including a deeply disturbing scene where one of the twins’ handmade dolls – a doctor dressed in a white coat – appears as a male. . large size form once they were admitted to Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital. Here, the silent twins marries horror in the most brazen terms, though the fickle way the girls mirror each other’s actions is reminiscent of The Tied One in Jordan Peele’s film. Wealso.

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But oh, that boring question of “reality” and its inconvenient maintenance. Smoczynska dutifully gives the audience the facts, but the facts are presented with virtually no analysis. Little effort is made in Smoczynska’s direction or Andrea Seigel’s script to consider the factors that informed June and Jennifer’s cryptophasia, although to be fair to Seigel and Smoczynska, this is likely Sisyphus’ task. If that’s the case, the silent twins seems to benefit from getting as far away from the “real” story and its players as possible, especially Wallace herself (Jodhi May), who appears just in time to win the film’s “white savior” award.

There is comfort in realizing that in the hands of another director, the silent twins would have been completely standardized without the redeeming artistic value invested in the film by Smoczynska’s presence. But the film fails to capitalize on her vision. The insularity of the Gibbons is central to their identity. the silent twins he could have leaned more towards this identity, and therefore towards that of Smoczynska, to tell his tragedy. She sees the fundamental disturbance in the Gibbons’ psyche and brings it to the silent twins‘ surface with its aesthetic flourishes. But that’s where the exploration ends: The surface.


Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Writer: Andrea Seigel
Starring: Letitia Wright, Tamara Lawrence, Nadine Marshall, Treva Etienne, Michael Smiley, Jodhi May
Release date of: September 15, 2022



Bostonian cultural journalist Andy Crump covers movies, beer, music, and parenting for many media outlets, maybe even yours. He has contributed to Necklace since 2013. You can follow him at twitter and find her collected work on her personal blog. It is made up of about 65% craft beer.

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