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Indivisible (2017) Review

Indivisible is a 2017 drama about coming of age conjoined sisters who work as singers for their father, but when a possible procedure offers a new future, it changes everything.

The sad truth about conjoined twins in entertainment is how they have mostly been portrayed, movies and television using them for laughs or picturing them as freaks. Sure, some have tried to use humor to earn a path to an emotional message, but the result is nearly always the same. Now comes Edoardo De AngelisIndivisible (Italian: Indivisibili), a starkly authentic and devastating story about two young women who live as one, faced with making a choice that would finally change that. It’s a deeply personal, sometimes flawed experience that nonetheless challenges expectations. 

Dasy (Marianna Fontana) and her sister Viola (Angela Fontana) are joined at the hip. Nearly eighteen, they live with their parents in a poor part of Naples, where they perform as a signing act, warbling tunes their father Peppe (Massimiliano Rossi) has written, including a song called ‘Indivisible,’ a lament of sorts that both celebrates and mourns their condition. The girls love each other greatly but are very distinct personalities, with Dasy the more independent. When a doctor explains that he can separate them, the idea causes a rift in their lives, and when Peppe won’t hear of it, the girls run away, though the two are not on the same page about what they want for their future.

De Angelis begins right where audiences are mostly liking thinking, starting the film with a haunting long take that follows a young woman off the beach and into town, the camera slipping into the bedroom window of Viola and Dasy, where they lie on their bed. We see in full view how they are joined and watch as Dasy masturbates while Viola moans in her sleep. It establishes much about their relationship, tapped even further moments later when Viola thanks her sister while praying to atone for whatever sins she is feeling. Religion plays a major role in their lives and in the story, the people in it weighted by what Dasy and Viola represent to them. A local priest (Gianfranco Gallo) adamantly calls them walking angels and like their father, says that separating them would be a tragedy, though for different reasons. Their shattered mother Titti (Antonia Truppo) is barely able to cope with any of it. The commentary to all of this that isn’t subtle, but nor is De Angelis trying to be.

The movie is a sort of bizarre odyssey as the twins take to the road per se in search of money for the operation but more in learning what lies beyond the fragile walls of the sheltered life where they once lived. The farther they get from home, the deeper they fall into the perils of real life as the girls encounter all kinds of colorful characters who view them in a variety of ways. This is where the film wavers, it’s indulgence in these subplots sometimes elongated and drawing away from the better part of the story, that of Dasy and Viola’s relationship. There are striking scenes of these girls that offer poignant moments of humanity, though they are peppered amid others that serve only to offer obstacles and obvious metaphorical challenges, yet it’s rarely enough to strip away the impact of their journey.

What works best is how De Angelis never lets the girls become anything more than two very powerful young women, they, over the course of the film becoming – perhaps somewhat ironically – separate in their own right, even as they work to serve each other. The villagers long to touch where they are bound, believing it a place of miracles, while the girls have grown numb to the adoration, with Viola wanting to be part of Dasy but living their life while Dasy longs to dance and make love. This is where the film tugs hardest and while the story sometimes meanders from the message, it’s impossible not to be moved by the bond these girls share.

Indivisible is a heavy film, absurd, traumatic, and always compelling. The Fontana sisters are a remarkable duo, giving Viola and Dasy extraordinary presence, making them uniquely separate, despite their condition. Fable-like in its execution, this is a genuinely touching film about unconditional love, sacrifice, and the quest for identity.

Indivisible (2017) Review

Movie description: Indivisible is a 2017 drama about coming of age conjoined sisters who work as singers for their father, but when a possible procedure offers a new future, it changes everything.

Director(s): Edoardo De Angelis

Actor(s): Angela Fontana, Marianna Fontana, Antonia Truppo

Genre: Drama

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