Is The Silent Twins based on a true story?

(L to R) Tamara Lawrance stars as Jennifer Gibbons and Letitia Wright stars as June Gibbons in director Agnieszka Smoczynska's THE SILENT TWINS, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Lukasz Bak/Focus Features
(L to R) Tamara Lawrance stars as Jennifer Gibbons and Letitia Wright stars as June Gibbons in director Agnieszka Smoczynska's THE SILENT TWINS, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Lukasz Bak/Focus Features /
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The movie The Silent Twins now streaming on Prime Video,, is certainly an interesting one, as it focuses on twin sisters June and Jennifer Gibbons. The siblings only communicated with each other using a secret language they created, and were bonded in unnatural ways. Sometimes the strangest stories turn out to be true. Is that the case with the Focus Features film?

The production stars Letitia Wright as June Gibbons, Leah Mondesir-Simmonds as Young June, Tamara Lawrance as Jennifer Gibbons, Eva-Arianna Baxter as Young Jennifer, Nadine Marshall as Gloria Gibbons, Treva Etienne as Aubrey Gibbons, Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn as Greta Gibbons, Jodhi May as Marjorie Wallace, Jack Bandeira as Wayne Kennedy, Declan Joyce as George Kennedy, and Tony Richardson as Dr. John Rees.

The film follows the twins’ story, being told from their perspective “for the first time,” per the production company. The isolated twins faced bullying at school and felt unwelcome in their community. This caused them to become even more withdrawn. They were always synchronized as well, for example as they walked to class in unison.

Eventually as teens, they got into trouble and were arrested for vandalism, burglary, and arson. The judge ruled that they be taken to psychiatric hospital Broadmoor Hospital, where they spend the next several years of their lives. And their out of the ordinary behaviors didn’t stop once there.

Is The Silent Twins based on a true story?

The Silent Twins’ childhood

Yes, The Silent Twins is based on the true story and events of the lives of June and Jennifer Gibbons, who are from the United Kingdom. It’s also based on the novel of the same name by author Marjorie Wallace. The two sisters really did form their own secret language, and wouldn’t speak to anyone, even their siblings and parents. The two were often bullied at school as they were the only Black children in their Welsh community.

A number of therapists tried to get the girls to talk to others, at one point separating them in the hopes they would do so when not co-dependent on each other. However, this negatively impacted them and they were entirely withdrawn when parted. Eventually they were reunited, and would stay in their bedroom together.

There was an impressive creative side to to them where the two made their own dolls and toys, created plays, and wrote books together. However these creative writing materials, like poems and novels, often depicted men and women who took part in criminal behavior.

The Silent Twins’ teenage years

As teens, June and Jennifer started to act out themselves, drinking and using drugs. They also committed a number of crimes like vandalism and petty theft. But eventually, they set fire to a barn. As their case came to a judge, it was decided they’d be sent to high-security psychiatric facility, Broadmoor Hospital. They were there for eleven years.

The Silent Twins in Broadmoor Hospital

The sisters were mostly separated but still were able to have contact with each other at times. When they were hospitalized, they became even more withdrawn and unsocial. They made a pact that if one of them died, the other had to start speaking and live a normal life, per se. They firmly believed it was necessary one of them had to give up her life, and Jennifer was the one to do so. Jennifer died of sudden inflammation of the heart at the age of 29. What’s strange is that tests did not show she’d taken any drugs or was poisoned. To this day, medical experts don’t know how exactly she died.

In a strange turn of events after Jennifer’s death, June did exactly what their pact entailed. She became talkative, social, and is currently living by herself near her parents in Wales. She no longer needs psychiatric services. June is 59 years old as of March 2023.

The movie The Silent Twins is now streaming on Prime Video.

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