Netflix’s new Spanish psychological horror film, Tin & Tina, is adapted from director Rubin Stein’s 2013 short film by the same name, and it makes for an exciting watch. The plot follows a couple, Lola and Adolfo, who decide to adopt a pair of twins, Tin and Tina, but soon find themselves reeling from a series of unusual problems because of their adopted kids. The stress on the psychological is much greater here than on the horror elements, as the film mostly maintains a slow build-up to its drama. Overall, Tin & Tina is a surprisingly enjoyable watch, as it becomes the tale of Lola’s twisted journey from disbelief to faith.
Tin & Tina’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Tin & Tina begins on a warm, sunny day in 1981 at a church in Spain, where the marriage ceremony of a young couple is taking place. The couple, Lola and Adolfo, are evidently very loving towards each other, and Adolfo seems to be a bit more caring as Lola is pregnant with twins. As the ceremony is over and the couple walks out through the church doors amidst the celebrations of their respective families, the entire scene turns grim very quickly. Lola starts to bleed and has to be rushed to the emergency ward of the nearest hospital. As news of the shootout at the Congress of Deputies is telecast on live television, Lola lies on the hospital bed, struggling to recover. Although she is out of any serious danger, what the doctor tells her hurts Lola and Adolfo even more—due to suffering internal damage, Lola had lost her babies and would never be able to get pregnant again.
Heartbroken and almost losing purpose in life, the couple move to Adolfo’s childhood home away from their town and begin to live there, despite Lola not being too comfortable in the big house. In order to get their lives back on track, they then decide to adopt children from a nearby convent and adoption home. Visiting the place, Lola is still not convinced by this idea until she meets two seven-year-old twins, Tin and Tina. The twins impress Lola with their exceptional skill at playing the church organ and then with their easy acceptance of the woman. Although Adolfo is not very interested in the children because of their albinism, Lola overhears Tin and Tina, sadly expressing how nobody loves them and decides to adopt the children as their own.
As Tin and Tina start living at the couple’s house, though, their extreme interest in and even dependence on religion becomes clear. Despite being so young, the two can easily quote lines from the Bible, and they even have a tendency to interpret these teachings very literally. While Lola and Adolfo try to be good parents to the children, the unnatural religiousness of Tin and Tina soon starts to create strange troubles for the couple.
Why Do Lola And Adolfo Return The Children To The Orphanage?
After learning that their mother, Lola, cannot have children biologically, Tin and Tina encourage her to become faithful in order for some miracle to happen. Tin & Tina maintains a careful uncertainty over every element in the plot, and surely enough, a miracle does take place in Lola’s life. After once again getting physically intimate with Adolfo, the woman somehow gets pregnant, even though her body is supposedly unable to bear children. Even the doctor who excitedly tells the woman the news says that this is definitely a miracle from the medical perspective as well. During her pregnancy, the strange behavior of Tin and Tina continues, as they even scare Lola tremendously on one occasion. The twins keep saying that God might just ask their baby brother to be sacrificed in order to save themselves, and all of this makes Lola scared for her child.
After Lola gives birth to her baby boy, she is even more careful with Tin and Tina around, and she forcefully keeps the twins away from practicing religion in the house. When they ask about their baby brother’s baptism, Lola sharply retorts that the baby will not be made to go through such religious practices and can instead choose his own religion once he grows up. This obviously does not convince the religious twins, and they decide to give their baby brother his baptism by themselves, believing that such an important practice should not be avoided. One afternoon, as Adolfo is busy watching football, the twins manage to make Lola go to the hatchery and leave her baby unattended. Using this opportunity, Tin and Tina then dip their baby brother into the water of their swimming pool, and by the time Lola returns to the scene, she sees Tina holding the baby down by his leg, with his head immersed in the water dangerously. Having had enough of the strange twins, Lola and Adolfo now decide to return the children to the orphanage.
‘Tin & Tina’ Ending Explained: Was Lola Delusional? Did The Twins Kill Adolfo?
Tin & Tina maintains its purported ambiguity throughout the entire duration, and this uncertainty is heightened at the end of the film. After leaving the twins back at the orphanage, Lola grows concerned about whether they had done the right thing, and she is also worried by Adolfo’s stereotypical disconcern about taking care of their baby. She is irritated by the fact that she has to take care of all the nurturing, while Adolfo chooses to stay away from it. Disturbed by such thoughts, she decides to take off her wedding ring on one stormy night, much to the surprise of Adolfo. The man now apologizes for his behavior and promises to be more involved in taking care of their son. He then heads up to the terrace of the house to fix up the satellite reception of the TV when a horrific storm rages over the area.
During this same time, Tin and Tina are seen in their orphanage listening to a sermon by Mother Asuncion about the final judgment of God for those who mock His existence. There are a number of hints that seem to suggest that the twins now sneak out of the orphanage when the nun supervising the sleeping dorms falls asleep on her chair. When Tin and Tina had first come to Lola and Adolfo’s house, they had inquired about how far the place was from the orphanage and also about how to travel between the two places. At present, the twins’ favorite song starts to play on the music system at the house, and even small footprints can be seen near the entrance of the house in the darkness. Very soon, the biggest danger of the situation plays out, as Lola seems to hear whispers calling out to her and then sees Adolfo lit on fire after being struck by lightning, and desperately struggling to put the flames out. As the husband dies from the incident, Lola’s immediate reaction is to search for her baby, who is not at his usual place in the cot.
Tin & Tina does not make it clear as to whether the twins were actually motivated towards evil because of their religious beliefs or whether they were capable of doing good as well. If Tin and Tina had indeed come to the house that night, they could have either lit Adolfo on fire, which seems unlikely, or they could have also moved the baby to a safe spot inside the house where the flames could not yet reach him. The exact details of either of the two possibilities are not clear, but to Lola, this situation is the most desperate time to give in to religious faith. She chokes herself in the same manner that Tina had once done to her earlier, saying that she could get anything from God, or even see Him, through such a process. Lola now obviously asks for help from the supreme powers in finding her baby, and almost like a second miracle in the film, she is suddenly able to hear the cries of the baby and locate him. When Lola finally saves the baby and is admitted to the hospital, where both of them are cared for back to health, Mother Asuncion visits her at the hospital. She confirms that Tin and Tina were indeed at the orphanage the whole night, as she had woken them up in the morning. This does not entirely prove that the children had not left the place, as they could have returned to the orphanage before morning, but that would be a stretch as well.
Ultimately, the film’s ending is made to keep things open to the audience’s interpretation, and looking at the last scene as a sort of coincidence is best suited, according to my personal opinion. The film is indeed the story of how Lola loses her faith in God and then returns to it through a most twisted chain of events. When she had first lost her twins, all of a sudden, because of no fault of her own, Lola had woken up on the hospital bed and looked at the crucifix hanging on the wall. The news that followed had completely taken away her belief in the divine, and she was even repulsed at seeing the over-religious practices of Tin and Tina. Perhaps Lola had first started to question religion back in her childhood days when she had lost her leg in an accidental fire in her parents’ caravan, and now, after losing her children and also the ability to be a mother biologically, she had totally rejected religion. However, in the end, she has to once again return to her Christian faith in order to find and save her baby, and from here on, Lola becomes a firm believer in religion.
With respect to Lola, there can also be a perspective that the woman had been mentally hurt beyond any repair following the loss of her twins at the beginning of the film. Out of her absolute rejection of religion, she had also grown an inherent animosity towards those who practice religion, with Tin and Tina being the biggest example. The story can also be looked at from the perspective of Lola’s terrified psyche that the twins are going to harm her, and at least some of the events can be seen in such a manner. When the kids prepare a breakfast to surprise their mother during her pregnancy, Lola believes that they have mixed poison in the milk, while it was just some powdered sugar. There is surely an extent of growing paranoia in Lola’s mind about the twins, but ultimately in the end her return to faith also brings a change in her attitude towards the kids.
On the other side, the question of whether Tin and Tina were actually evil or just victims of religious brainwashing is also something Tin & Tina is mostly about. Having grown up in a convent orphanage with nobody else to guide them other than the extremely religious Mother Asuncion, the twins did genuinely seem to believe that they were doing good to each of their victims. Two young children, who had never set foot outside of the convent, who had no idea what television was, and who had been given no education other than religious preaching, should perhaps not be expected to understand the repercussions of cutting a dog open to bless its soul and then waiting for it to come back to life. Their decision to push the bully Pedro off a hill was driven by their learning that they should defend their religious beliefs at any cost. While religion might not teach one to harm others, making it the only source of education and philosophy for those unaware of anything else can easily lead to it being misinterpreted and used in the worst of ways. Tin & Tina seems to brilliantly talk about the biggest ailment of the real modern world through the example of two children, who, more than anything, just seem to be innocent victims of religious drivel.
There is undoubtedly an air of strangeness and uncanniness about the children, particularly in how they plan each of their strange practices, which more often than not become premeditated murders. However, whether the twins are able to really understand the significance of their actions becomes primary in this discussion, and they do not, in all probability. The ending of Tin & Tina, in which Lola is seen with the twins at the funeral of Adolfo, is to be perceived as a happy ending not because Lola’s faith in religion has been restored but because she has been able to accept the twins as harmless children and seemingly is adopting them into a better life. Although she herself has now turned religious, perhaps staying with her will still be better for Tin and Tina than living in the orphanage guided by the blind faith of Mother Asuncion.