I was going to begin this movie review with a stat about how women talk significantly more than men, but it turns out that’s a stereotype that doesn’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. But it’s safe to say that the two real-life girls-turned-women featured in the imaginative biopic The Silent Twins said statistically fewer words in their time together than just about anyone. Why? Director Agnieszka Smoczynska never really answers this question… then again, no one seems to really have the answers to why these sisters behaved the way they did.
Done differently, The Silent Twins could be told as a horror movie. Two strange girls refuse to speak to anyone but each other, and when they do they speak in a strange language. When others enter a room, they grow silent and passive. When separated, they go into a catatonic state, often in the same pose.
Parts of The Silent Twins are indeed terrifying. Smoczynska (who directed the 2015 mermaid horror film The Lure) dives into the pair’s heads to bring their imagination to life in unorthodox fashion, including the most frightening stop-motion puppet theater you’ll ever see.
But the movie isn’t a horror movie. A portrayal of these two individuals’ lives from adolescence into adulthood, The Silent Twins is mindboggling, fascinating, endearing, upsetting, and just downright fucking weird. A blend of grounded storytelling and surrealism, it is among the most creative character studies you’ll ever see.
The movie of course benefits tremendously from stars Letitia Wright and Jodhi May, who immerse themselves into their roles with incredible attention to detail. These are challenging characters, so kudos to Wright and May for tackling them in the way they do.
The Silent Twins is a weird movie about two weird people, but it’s often fascinating. While it’s not necessarily the kind of movie I’ll likely revisit, if you’re looking for something a little different, there’s a lot to like here.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.