Review: ‘THE SILENT TWINS’ is an imaginative interpretation of The Gibbons’ sisters haunting history.

THE SILENT TWINS

The real-life story of twin sisters June and Jennifer Gibbons continuously confounds psychologists and curious onlookers alike. As young girls from Barbados whose father transferred for work, they were the only Black family in their Wales neighborhood. The girls experienced insurmountable isolation and bullying. As a result, they turned inward, refusing to speak to anyone other than each other, and exhibited succinct behavior, almost catatonic at times. With each passing year, The Gibbons sisters enigmatic relationship wreaked havoc on their families, communities, and each other. The Silent Twins creatively illustrate their experiences. Theirs is a story that baffles the world.

The only time they spoke aloud was in their bedroom, as they created magnificent plays, poems, and short stories. The Silent Twins utilizes mixed media stop motion animation to illustrate the girls’ elaborate writing. When you hear their diary entries, you soon realize their astonishing level of intellect.

Following their dismissal from school, the girls enter a specialized education program (which later proved useless), followed by separate residential schools. June struggles to adjust due to the separation, becoming despondent. Once reunited, things regress to the status quo in their childhood bedroom for the next few years.

The dynamic between the two is clear; Jennifer exerts all power over June. Adolescent jealousy brings a new level of vengeful animosity to Jennifer and June’s relationship. Jennifer’s infatuation with an influential bad boy brings drugs and pyromania into their lives. The consequences of these behaviors lead them to their eleven-year admission to Broadmoor Hospital. The publication of June’s book further drives their competitive nature.

*SPOILER ALERT* If you’d like to stay in the dark about the story, skip the following paragraph!!

The Gibbons made a pact in childhood stating that if one of them died, the other should begin to speak and live a “normal life.” On the day of their release from Broadmoor, Jennifer passes away in the transport van. While the circumstances did not sit well with anyone, her autopsy would later reveal a case of undiagnosed myocarditis. Rather than sink into grief, the death of Jennifer frees June from a lifelong emotional and physical prison.

** Continue below…

Performances from Letitia Wright and Tamara Larance will blow you away. Their vocal specificity is imperative to understanding the real-life twins’ dialect and speech patterns. Their volatile chemistry jumps off the screen. Each actress has their time to shine.

Prior knowledge of this bizarre case proved to be a blessing and a curse. A few things felt stylistically superfluous, especially a runtime of nearly 2 hours. I almost wish this haunting tale were a touch more straightforward. The stop-motion sequences are such a powerful device that the added songs and whimsical choreography appear overkill. I’m unsure if The Silent Twins works as a whole. Perhaps, a viewer with zero previous understanding of The Gibbons’ strange existence might come to a different conclusion. If you fall into that category, I recommend going into the film blind. Either way, director Agnieszka Smoczynska displays a unique vision of two mind-boggling women.


Silence was their bond. Imagination set them free.

Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance star in #TheSilentTwins, only in theaters September 16.


A version of this review first appeared on AWFJ.org. To read more insights from the amazing women in the alliance, click here!


 

Review:’Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul’ is In Theaters and streaming only on Peacock now!

HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL.

To overcome a scandal, a viral pastor and his wife hire an up-and-coming festival filmmaker to revamp their image with a cinema verité documentary. Their goal is to refill their megachurch with its previous 25000 parishioners. But, it quickly becomes evident that Lee-Curtis and Trinitie are out of touch with reality. Based on writer-director-producer Adamma Ebo’s short film of the same name, Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. is gloriously biting satire to the nth degree.

As revelations of the allegations against Lee-Curtis come to light, the complex nature of the story gets stickier. The dialogue is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Ebo makes full use of righteous indignation to excuse/cover sins. The script mirrors real life so accurately it is shocking. The hidden shame, faux outrage, and especially the hypocrisy, every character in Honk For Jesus is lying to themselves.

Regina Hall plays Trinitie Childs. Doing her best dutiful wife with a plastered smile, Hall is perfection. Each beat jumps off the screen. But there are cracks beneath the surface, waiting for the precise moment to break free. Sterling K. Brown as Lee-Curtis Childs is an explosive ball of energy. It’s a powerful and physical performance. Brown’s relentless commitment to the absurd makes this film as intriguing as it is funny. The chemistry between Hall and Brown is spectacular. It is an equal partnership of fierceness. The support they give to one another in every scene is palpable.

Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. is a fight for the Childs’ last remaining shred of dignity. The balance of over-the-top farce and deep-seated issues creates a hell of a story. Blind faith is a dangerous thing. Adamma Ebo knows it, and so too shall audiences.


Written and Directed by Adamma Ebo

Produced by Adanne Ebo, Daniel Kaluuya, Rowan Riley, Amandla Crichlow, Jesse Burgum, Matthew Cooper

Starring Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown


For more coverage of Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul from AWFJ members, click here!

Watch Eddie Redmayne Take on the Performance of His Life in the Offical Trailer for “The Danish Girl”

Based off of the novel written by David Ebershoff, director Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) and actors Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina) beautifully illustrate the powerful true story of Lili Elbe in their new film The Danish Girl. This is the overwhelming journey of Einar Wegener’s transition into the woman he knew he was meant to be. And based off of the official trailer, it looks like Eddie Redmayne may be on his way to taking home another Academy Award.

The Danish Girl will be in theaters November 27th.

Check out the official trailer below!

With or Without Reading the Book, The Shocking Part About ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Is That We Liked It

Fifth Shades of Grey poster

Liz has read the book, but Melissa hasn’t. Here’s their individual takes on the movie they were totally surprised by.


 

Melissa Hanson aka Dial M For Melissa
Managing Editor / Podcast Producer
Growing up, Melissa’s favorite destination was always the video store and would agonize over whether to watch something new or to rewatch a favorite. Things have not changed.
Follow on Twitter @DialMForMelissa 

I did not read the books. Once the hype started, I pretty much dismissed them and the movie announced. I had a few friends read it, and did try to read it myself, but couldn’t get past a few pages. All I knew was that there’s a “plain,” innocent girl and there’s a rich guy who’s into BDSM. Oh, and people (mostly women) are going nuts over it and it’s already selling out screenings. I didn’t really pay much attention to it and had zero interest in watching, but then, I saw Jamie Dornan is Christian Grey. This piqued my interest because he’s in the Netflix series, The Fall, which I absolutely love. Ok, so I’ll watch Fifty Shades of Grey.

Here’s the big shock: it’s actually a very interesting story of a man and woman who surprisingly talk about their relationship intimacy. It’s just disguised as sex. This could have been shown at a film festival and I wouldn’t have even known the difference.

Although it’s a little drawn out and definitely crawls in the third act, it keeps your interest. The dialogue starts out a little flat, but quickly picks up once the focus is just on Anastasia and Christian. The music and score is works beautifully. The remix of “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé is magnificent.

When it comes to the sex, it’s really nothing shocking. The most shocking parts are the conversations they have TALKING about the sex. If you want to see a shocking sex scene, just watch The Counselor and wait for Cameron Diaz to get on top of a car.


FSG_Tsr1Sht_RGB_1103_2_rgbLiz Whittemore aka IndieBizLiz
Managing Editor / Girls on Film Podcast Host
Actor / Singer / Dancer / Writer / Producer / Adventurer / New Englander / AMDA Alum / Wifey / MBAMrs / Whovian / Literary Sponge / Odd Duck / Pot Stirrer / Awesome Gal
Follow on Twitter @Liz_Whittemore

Yes. I read the damn book. In fact, I read the book in a book club at Yale School of Management’s Partners Club. I know, I know, I know, I sound like a cliche. We most definitely read it because of the hype. It could not be avoided, the hype I mean. BDSM and hot sexy “Mummy Porn”? I mean, is there really a question as to why we chose it? I don’t think so. To be honest, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the writing is atrocious. E.L. James began this “novel” as Twilight Fan fiction. I’m not sure if Christian Grey was meant to resemble Edward Cullen or not, though I do know that Robert Pattinson was James’ first pick to fill the role. Let’s just say that the entire book is from the inner monologue of Anastasia, a fresh faced college grad and virgin. Although, from the inner monologue presented by the author, you’d think she was 11. The book was a tough read in respect to the repetitive nature of James’ phrasing. If I had to read “My Inner Goddess” one more damn time, I don’t know if I ever would have finished. The infamous “tampon” scene alone made me toss my kindle across the bed. I didn’t pick the book back up for another three weeks; I hate to leave something unread simply on principle. Thankfully, that was not included in the film. Now, shall we launch into said version? I think we shall…

Truth be told, I actually REALLY liked the film. I don’t even care what you think about me after that statement. I liked it. Had there been zero hype, had I not ever heard of the book, had I not read any articles anywhere, I would be one happy audience member. The structure of the film versus the book is a vast improvement. We skip through the garbage and head straight into a courtship with a twist. It has a very tongue and cheek, rom-com formula in the beginning. Dakota Johnson is charming and funny, just the way I imagined Ana to be, without the gushing jargon of a pre-teen. Jamie Dornan is a pretty good Christian Grey. He grew on me as the film rolled on. His presence is strong and quiet and I think his interpretation is a thoroughly thought out character study. It is certainly a performance that would easily progress with two additional scripts. The chemistry is a tad tough to read, but not altogether unbelievable.

When you get to the heart of the screenplay, this story is about an intimate relationship between two people. Real moments, real issues, something for everyone to relate to. The sex scenes, while relatively intense, are no more “porny” than anything else we’ve seen before in film. Johnson is full frontal nude for a good amount of time. And, don’t worry, you get plenty of Dornan abs, and just enough rock hard bum shots a girl can handle in a span of two hours (*not enough, sorry not sorry*.) The struggle of power between a man and a woman, both emotionally and physically, is beautifully set out on screen. I applaud Sam Taylor-Johnson for a fantastic job in both shot layout and a keen hand in knowing what will play well with the intended audience. Also, I would be remiss if I did not high five the screenwriter, Kelly Marcel. She takes an average narrative and spins it into what would be considered a great little indie flick in any other world. Try your best to separate the book and the film. I think as a reader, you will be very pleased with Fifty Shades of Grey. As a movie goer, it will put a smile on your face. Take it at face value, and go from there. I, for one, walked away a happy book-clubber and a very happy audience member.

New Featurette: Jude Law talks about ‘Black Sea’ & Behind the Scenes on the Submarine

Jude Law stars as a rogue submarine captain after sunken treasure in the depths of the Black Sea in Focus Features’ upcoming adventure thriller BLACK SEA, directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald.  Photo Credit: Alex Bailey / Focus Features.

Jude Law stars as a rogue submarine captain after sunken treasure in the depths of the Black Sea in Focus Features’ upcoming adventure thriller BLACK SEA, directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald.
Photo Credit: Alex Bailey / Focus Features.

I am really looking forward to seeing Jude Law in a role like this. He shattered his “pretty boy” image in Dom Hemingway (which I loved and Liz put on her top 10).

Two-time Academy Award nominee Jude Law captains the cast of Black Sea, the suspenseful adventure thriller directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September, The Last King of Scotland).

Black Sea centers on a rogue submarine captain (Jude Law) who, after being laid off from a salvage company, pulls together a misfit crew to go after a sunken treasure rumored to be lost in the depths of the Black Sea. As greed and desperation take control on board their claustrophobic vessel, the increasing uncertainty of the mission causes the men to turn on each other to fight for their own survival.

Read More →

Michael’s Review: ‘The Boxtrolls’- Don’t Be Afraid of These Monsters!

Boxtrolls poster (2)

Over the past several years, studios have moved into a new realm of stop animation by incorporating 3D technology into the filming with Laika studios creating some of the most interesting subjects. From Coraline to Paranorman, these unconventional children’s movies have found their audience among a wide range of age groups and have helped ring in a new age of animation. Laika hopes to carry on the tradition of making high quality stop animation films with this years The Boxtrolls, their most ambitious film to date. Read More →