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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The Gibbons twins' story theoretically lends itself to an exploration of empathy, compassion, and curiosity. But the film frustratingly focuses less on them as people and more on their air of mystery.
Positive Role Models
Jennifer and June aren't necessarily role models. But they do elicit compassion from viewers. Many other characters try to help them to the best of their ability, even though some get frustrated and angry.
The story is about Black twins June and Jennifer Gibbons, as well as members of their family. However, there's a focus on the White gaze, when it's Jennifer and June who should be the true focus. This may have been intended to show how the Gibbons family as a whole was isolated from the White British populace because of their status as immigrants, their race, and their culture. But, if so, that point should have been made clearer instead of merely implied. Journalist Marjorie could also be seen as reinforcing the "White savior" cliché.
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Violence & Scariness
Stylized violence (scenes with stop-motion puppets engaged in violence), intense physical fighting, bullying, attempted suicide, arson. Upsetting sequences in hospitals/institutions, as well as in animated scenes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nudity (waist-up), sexual acts and situations.
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Language isn't constant but includes "f--k," "bitches," "a--hole," "c--k." Exclamatory use of "God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes with smoking and other drug use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Silent Twins is a challenging drama based on the real story of identical twins Jennifer (Tamara Lawrance) and June (Letitia Wright) Gibbons, who created an insular world for themselves and wouldn't communicate with anyone else. The film -- which is set in 1960s and '70s Wales -- has moments of violence, including intense physical fighting, attempted death by suicide, bullying, arson, and more. Scenes of the sisters being separated and institutionalized are upsetting, as are some of the animated sequences. There's also strong language ("f--k," "c--k," etc.), sexual situations, and partial nudity (from the waist up). Characters smoke and use drugs. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Silent Twins uses unique storytelling choices to tell the story of the Gibbons twins, who created an insular world for themselves to live in as an escape from the outside world. But their bizarre, fascinating story could have been handled much more deftly, and that's frustrating. The film's focus on the twins' fantasy world and their imaginations, which they eventually channeled into novel-writing, could have made for a great, emotionally resonant film (doubly so, since the twins were bullied for being from an immigrant family from Barbados). But for all of the film's focus on the twins' rich inner life, there's never a full exploration of their individual feelings, motivations, and goals.
Overall, The Silent Twins' success, such that it is, rests entirely on Wright and Lawrance, who give the characters a depth beyond what exists in the script. Indeed, in terms of just writing, the film treats June and Jennifer as static objects, building blocks for much more interesting film ideas and techniques. That's unfair to the Gibbons' fascinating story. And while the twins' "romantic" situations are important to them as a means of acquiring life experiences, the scenarios not only feel predatory and skeevy but also strangely focused on the White gaze. Perhaps that's to make a point: that the Gibbons family was racially and culturally isolated. So perhaps the point is that Jennifer and June were trying to find acceptance through romance? Maybe. But was that plot point necessary? Probably not, especially since viewers don't really know the purpose for it. At the end of the day, The Silent Twins is interesting and boasts amazing performances, but the threadbare storyline does the Gibbons twins a disservice.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.