Review: The Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. According to the trivia at IMDB, this duo have appeared together over half a dozen times in other movies and on television, including on Saturday Night Live. In this film they play twins. Their history and chemistry serves them well here. Both give impressive, nuanced performances.

Spoilers ahead.

There are comedic moments, but the film is really about depressed and dysfunctional people near suicide. The film opens with the twins, who have not spoken in 10 years, both ready to commit suicide on the same day. Maggie (Wiig) is about to swallow a handful of pills when she gets a call that her brother Milo (Hader) slit his wrists in his bathroom in LA. She flies out to be with him.

Milo goes home with Maggie for a while. Maggie’s husband Lance (Luke Wilson) thinks they are trying to get pregnant, but Maggie reveals to Milo that she’s on birth control. In one nitrous oxide induced giggle-fest in the dental office where Maggie works, she also tells Milo that she’s been having sex with the instructors of all the classes she takes. (The scene in the dental office was mostly improvised.)

Milo admits to Maggie that he’s not the actor he went to LA to be, but a waiter in a tourist restaurant. Plus, his boyfriend just dumped him. He does not admit that he’s paying visits to his former high school English teacher, Rich (Ty Burrell). When Milo was 15, his teacher had sex with him. Milo spends a night with him now that he’s an adult, and seems to want to legitimize that early relationship.

Back in high school, Maggie turned in the English teacher. He lost his job and now works in a bookstore.

The twins mother Judy (Joanna Gleason) makes a brief and depressing appearance. The twins father killed himself when they were 14.

Milo lets Lance know that Maggie used to hide cigarettes all over the house in places no one would look. Lance takes the hint and finds Maggie’s birth control pills.

When Lance confronts Maggie about the pills, she won’t admit she doesn’t want children. Instead she confesses the affairs she’s had with her instructors.

Maggie and Milo fight. They fight about her marriage woes, and about the fact that Maggie saw that Rich called her brother. They cut deep with their comments to each other.

They need to live in the same town and be there for each other after the movie ends.Amid what is truly painful depression in both twins, there are bright moments. The twins are good for each other. They make each other smile, play, and step out of their pain for brief moments. They need to live in the same town and be there for each other after the movie ends. If they are going to be saved, they will be saved by their relationship. In a very literal sense, these two need to stick together as a family. Somehow, amid amazing dysfunction, the two of them work.

The film is available now on Amazon Instant Video. I sincerely recommend it.

The Trailer

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