Rachel Weisz’s ‘Dead Ringers’ Remake Is Not Your Regular Twin Tale—It’s a Complex Metaphor for Grief

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Still from 'Dead Ringers.'
Prime Video

**Trigger warning: This series includes scenes of pregnancy complications**

At the beginning of Prime Video's Dead Ringers, which is a remake of the 1988 David Cronenberg film of the same name, we see Rachel Weisz and...Rachel Weisz sitting in a coffee shop discussing their workplace woes (FYI: Weisz plays twins in the miniseries). As the sisters, Elliot and Beverly, try to have their conversation, they're interrupted by a customer across the room—a man who asks if they've ever engaged in a threesome. Despite the gall of the question, the sisters act unfazed, quickly firing sarcastic comments back. “She's the funny one,” Elliot says while Beverly shuts the man down. But then, Elliot provides her own remarks, adding: “Actually, I'm the funny one.”

This opening scene immediately sets the tone for the 6-episode psychological thriller. Dead Ringers follows the twins as they spend their days at a hospital, both working as gynecologists and hoping to open a birthing clinic of their own. All throughout the first episode, Elliot and Beverly act as one, supporting each other through their romantic, workplace and personal struggles, and this setup seems to be a metaphor for the pains of medical professionals, and also for how women process grief. (It is also buoyed by a stunning performance by Weisz.)

Just like that opening scene, Elliot and Beverly take moments that might be uncomfortable, challenging or upsetting, and they tackle them together. In Dead Ringers, the sisters face unimaginable difficulties, especially due to their work as gynecologists. Halfway through episode one, we watch heartbreaking scenes where one mother has a stillbirth and another dies mere hours after her child is born. Just one instance like this could stick with someone forever, and these sisters have to deal with them every day.

While many medical professionals have to learn how to simply shut these moments out, Elliot and Beverly have adapted by sharing their grief together. For instance, in one scene, Beverly is seen having a difficult conversation with a patient. So, she quietly leaves the room and sends a message to her sister. “SWAP,” the text reads. In the next shot, we see the twins together in the bathroom, changing their hairstyles so that they can look like one another. While this may play out like a scene from The Parent Trap, this is no playful attempt to dupe their patients. The two have simply constructed a system that allows them to survive.

In the 1988 film Dead Ringers (which is based on the book Twins), the twin gynecologists are played by Jeremy Irons. However, it seems purposeful that this miniseries has gender swapped the lead roles.

This remake focuses on the struggles of women throughout fertility and the ways in which the medical system fails them. It also shows the ways in which women must endure through their grief.

In the first episode, we see that Beverly keeps trying to have a child of her own, but she has suffered multiple miscarriages. However, Elliot feels confident that Beverly will get pregnant, and we see her continually experimenting in a lab. While it's not clearly spelled out, the viewer gets the sense that Elliot is willing to try unconventional methods to help her sister, as well as her patients (and well, it's clear the two already use unconventional methods in their work to begin with). But the twins' end goal is to try to make things better for the women they aid every day.

Dead Ringers is a difficult watch, not only because it provides graphically realistic depictions of medical procedures, but also because it highlights some of the greatest hardships that come with pregnancy, for mothers and their doctors.

Of course, in life, we can't always count on someone else to carry our grief when it becomes too much. And towards the end of episode one, Dead Ringers already seems to be hinting at that as well (with a major twist that we won't spoil here). This new Prime Video miniseries isn't afraid to look at the tough questions. Needless to say, we will be bingeing the remaining five episodes to see what else gets a surgical examination.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...