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The Silent Twins

The Silent Twins’ true story is as follows: It undoubtedly interfered with my head.

They were identical twins, two black girls living in a world of white people, and their link was so intensely close that no one else could enter. Now, their intriguing—and unsettling—story is ready to be broadcast on television.


Letitia Wright said of filming her new movie “The Silent Twins,” which hits theatres on Friday, “It absolutely screwed with my head.”


When June and Jennifer Gibbons were born, it was immediately apparent to their parents that they were special. Or, to be more precise, between them.


When they eventually spoke, their words came out jumbled because they had a late start. The author of the 1986 book “The Silent Twins,” Marjorie Wallace, told NPR in 2015 that they “chirped and squeaked, enunciating the erroneous words.” Nobody else was able to comprehend them. They appeared to be using a different language. They both moved somewhat simultaneously.


The Gibbons twins’ bizarre life story is told in “The Silent Twins,” a film directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska and based on Wallace’s novel. Wright (“Black Panther”) and Tamara Lawrance (“Kindred”) star as the twins as adults.


The twins, Jennifer and June, were born in 1963 on a British military installation in Yemen where their father was stationed. Jennifer and June’s parents were from Barbados. The sisters were the only black students in their elementary school when the family relocated to Wales in the early 1970s.


The sisters became known as “the silent twins” because of their close relationship and increased inability to speak with others as a result of the bullying they endured.


Young June and Jennifer Gibbons started speaking what is thought to be a sped-up form of Bajan Creole even though the family only spoke English at home, according to the website All That’s Interesting.


As depicted in the movie, June and Jennifer would converse animatedly until someone else entered the room, at which point they would become passive and quiet while burying their heads.


According to Wright, who spoke to The Post, “their silence was a protest towards racism — systematic racism that they experienced as children they couldn’t completely understand.”


Even though the twins were inseparable, their relationship wasn’t always loving.


In Wallace’s tale, Jennifer and June competed for the attention of various boys, and Jennifer once attempted to strangle June with a radio cord while June once attempted to drown Jennifer.


As they grew older, the girls began to withdraw within themselves more and more, eventually resorting to illegal activities. They set fire to a tractor dealership in 1981, injuring a firefighter as a result. Shortly after that, they were apprehended damaging and attempting to set fire to a technical college.


The teenage twins had been detained in 1982 and were given a sentence to Broadmoor, a maximum-security prison in the United Kingdom for persons deemed to be “criminally insane.” They had stopped attending school in the years before their arrest, staying in their room to write and communicate in their common tongue. They wrote stories in endless notebooks, and they purchased a typewriter so they could send their work to periodicals.


They would be literary prodigies and New York Times best-selling authors if they were born today, according to Wright.


Stop-motion animation scenes in the film bring their fanciful, mournful prose to life.


Wallace started to visit the twins at Broadmoor after learning about them from a journalism colleague.


She told them their parents had allowed her to read their notebooks, and to her amazement they became friends. They finally spoke up to inquire if she enjoyed their writings and to share their aspiration to become authors. However, she discovered that their writings also contained venomous screeds about their own relationship. Wallace sent NPR a passage from Jennifer:


The twins wrote, “We have turned into lethal foes in each other’s eyes.” We can feel our bodies emit acrid, lethal rays that sear each other’s skin. I ask myself, “Is it feasible or impossible for me to get rid of my own shadow?” Would I pass away without my shadow? Would I be given life, set free, or allowed to perish without my shadow?

Himanshu Mahawar

Himanshu Mahawar is the Editor and Founder at Flaunt Weekly.

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