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‘The Silent Twins’ Is a Stunning Fantasy About Twin Black Girls Trapped in Their Own World

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25.05.2022

Agnieszka Smoczyńska, granted the chance of a far bigger budget for her English debut after two well-received features in her native Poland, throws absolutely everything in her toolkit at The Silent Twins. In this feature relating the true story of the Gibbons twins, June and Jennifer, with Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance in the main roles, Smoczyńska chucks in stop-motion animation, a dream sequence featuring synchronized swimmers and Princess Diana lookalikes, a dance sequence, an opening credits sequence read out by two of her actors, songs sung by the cast that tell the story (!), and, on top of this, a relentlessly bustling aesthetic, all upside down cameras, woozy-glassy effects, throbbing colors, stylized decors, and costumes so hyper-designed as to make Wes Anderson blush. It’s to the director’s immense credit that so much of this sheer directorial effort hits home.

June and Jennifer Gibbons, whose story is told over the course of about 20 years between the ‘70s and the early ‘90s, were twins who in their early years appeared bound by an extraordinary unspoken connection—very much unspoken, in fact, since the two girls were in the habit of speaking only to each other, in the little bedroom they shared. There, they built up an extraordinary world—a universe of outsider art, in effect—where........

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