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  • Raegan Rubin

REVIEW | TIN & TINA



Tin & Tina is a 2023 Spanish film by Rubin Stein, set in 1980s provincial Spain and starring

Milena Smit and Jaime Lorente. It's told from the perspective of a military housewife and atheist

called Lola who lost her leg in a fire when she was a child.


From the beginning, Lola's fate seems doomed as she suffers a miscarriage when leaving the

church on her wedding day. Heartbroken, she and her husband decide to adopt a child from a

nearby convent. The pair are immediately struck by two sweet-natured twins named Tin and Tina.

Soon, however, the children's zealous love for religion threatens the household's safety and

Lola's sanity.


The film is enriched with elements that we've come to expect and love from horror classics. Its creative direction is superb, and the film is set in a countryside home decorated with bright colours and warm Mediterranean features. The vibrant interior causes the two pale, white-haired twins to stand out like sore thumbs; starkly suggesting that they're not supposed to be there.


Lola's internal struggle over bonding with the twins is a prescient issue throughout the film. Over

time, she's visibly weakened by their troubling behavior and her fear of their malevolence and

supernatural affiliations becomes extremely palpable. The new mother is mostly oppressed by

the twin’s misappropriation of religion to justify their selfishly egregious acts and punishments.

This includes sacrificing the family dog, stoning the school bully and suffocating each other in order to "see God."


Lola becomes increasingly isolated as both her patriarchal husband and the convent's Mother

Superior remain blind to the children's wickedness. As she refuses to be similarly manipulated

by them, Tin and Tina target her with seemingly innocent games that have malicious intent. The

tension at home intensifies when Lola discovers she's pregnant and dreads how the arrival of a

new born son will affect the twins. She's soon horrified to find them nearly drown the child as

they attempt to baptise him in the swimming pool.


After returning Tin and Tina to the convent, Lola asks her husband for a divorce. The film

climaxes moments later when she sees him set alight by a lightning storm and the house burn

to the ground. Both Lola and her baby survive the fire and the traumatised mother is convinced

it's a religious miracle. In a terrifying twist, her faith in religion is restored and she readopts Tin and Tina; leaving the viewer uneasy as it seems that Lola's become just as pious as her

adopted children.


Altogether, the film is a psychological thriller about two deeply disturbed children whose only

fault, it seems, is that they were raised in a strict Orthodox convent where penance and God's

word ruled supreme. As for Lola, she reaffirmed my belief that loving your child is a choice and

isn't genetically predisposed or reliant on natural maternal instinct. It isn't until the end that you

realise that Tin & Tina is more than a horror film about two misguided children, but principally

about Lola emerging from her housewife role and establishing her own agency.


 

Raegan Rubin is London-based freelance journalist specialised in art and fashion history, subcultures, social justice, sustainability, LGBTQ+ and Fetish culture

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