I oftentimes compare films to food because each experience leaves me with a phantom taste that settles ever so abruptly on my tongue. With Silent Twins, I remember that feeling distinctly: gummy worms. It’s something of a treat in that it was mesmerizingly beautiful and yet altogether tough to digest after a two-hour sitting. However, it’s the first film I’ve seen in a while that accomplished its primary role as an indie film, which is to do something new and altogether inventive. The story follows twins who almost inexplicably refuse to talk to anyone else save for each other. It then follows the two as they grow up, fall in love, become writers, and so much more. At the end of the day, it’s a film about mental health that is delicately told and certainly worth a watch.
The woman who helped tell that story was Agnieszka Smoczynska, the director of the film. She’s spent the past few years working to adapt this story to film and her efforts were clear. She beautifully weaved scenes of joy with bleak depictions of sadness, and strategically used stop motion animation to tell an alternate story that paralleled the one which the sisters experienced. This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon but especially considering the nature of the film and the subject matter, this method of storytelling carried this film from another batch in the bin to something worth studying and taking a look at. In fact, without these interwoven animated features, this film would altogether lose any semblance of meaning. Additionally, the film delves highly into surrealism when it comes to conveying sensations and emotions. These scenes are both beautifully shot and incredibly well done.
The other woman who made this something of a standout film is Letitia Wright who was both the star and one of the producers of the film. To say she delivered a great performance would be a disservice to her craft. Her performance, along with that of Tamara Lawrance, carried this film as they occupied more than the majority of the screen time. Each possessed the type of magnetic personality needed to keep an audience entertained when the backdrop of each scene is bleak, dark, or more often than not, harrowing.
In the end, there isn’t much to lay fault to this film but there is a great deal of room to give credit to its inventive storytelling. I felt the film was too long and had a few scenes that were over the top in their presenting. For example, there is a surreal scene late in the movie that exists to convey the message that those committed in an asylum are essentially just dead bodies waiting to expire. While the message is poignant, the scene was not and altogether felt jarring compared to the overall narrative. This is a fairly minor gripe considering the overall body of work. For those looking for an interesting movie going experience, this is certainly one to keep on your list.