Letitia Wright’s mission with her latest film “The Silent Twins,” was to share an accurate and sympathetic portrayal of real-life West Indian twins, June and Jennifer who were institutionalized in 1970’s Britain for simply being different.
In tackling the book by Marjorie Wallace, the Emmy-nominated Guyanese actress whose film credits include “Black Panther,” “Small Axe,” and the television series “Top Boy,” says she wanted to bring to the big screen the true story of the twins who refused to communicate with the world.
“Their story affected me in a way that I just felt really sad about what happened to them,” shares Wright, who not only stars in the film, but also doubles as producer. “We’re looking at the lives of two beautiful, young Black women, two young girls who were just trying to understand themselves within a society that was quite difficult to grow up in. Beautiful creatives. Today, they would be geniuses in this era.”
June (played by Letitia Wright) and Jennifer (Tamara Lawrence) were identical Welsh twins born to Caribbean immigrants in 1960s Pembrokeshire, Wales. Severely bullied and ostracized as the only Black family in the neighborhood, the two withdrew and only spoke to each other and as a result created a rich, fascinating world to escape the reality of their own lives finding creative ways to express themselves within the confines of their own world.
A tale of exclusion, racial bias and sisterly love, this astounding true story follows the twins from childhood to adulthood. Bullied, misunderstood, misdiagnosed and eventually imprisoned, it shares what led to their withdrawal from the outside world, set them on a path of experimentation and ultimately pushed them to test the boundaries of society at the time.
“They were just misunderstood and were trying to work out their similarities and differences and they chose to be quiet and find another part to express themselves,” continues Wright. “We see how the system failed them in a way, the connection between them and we follow their journey to find out why they were silent.”
Building upon the juxtapositions of brutality and innocence, imagination, boredom and disillusionment, it’s an emotional, unique and beautifully told story.
A moving coming of age drama directed by Agnieszka Smoczyńska, “The Silent Twins” also stars Treva Etienne and is currently out in theaters.
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She serves as the Entertainment Editor for Trendy Africa. Photo courtesy of Lukasz Bak/Focus Features