Synopsis: After many years of estrangement, twins Maggie and Milo lead separate lives on opposite sides of the country. When both feel that they’re at the end of their ropes, an unexpected reunion forces them to confront how their lives went so wrong. For Maggie, that means re-examining her marriage to sweet ‘nature frat boy”” Lance and her own self-destructive tendencies, while Milo must face the pain of an early heartbreak he never quite got past. As the twins’ reunion reinvigorates them both, they realize the key to fixing their lives just may lie in accepting the past and mending their relationship with each other.
Release Date: September 19, 2014 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
When “Saturday Night Live” cast members make movies, audiences usually have a pretty good idea of the kind of raucous comedy that can be expected. Forget all about that. The Skeleton Twins, starring SNLers Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, completely shatters that mold.
The Skeleton Twins begins with the failed suicide attempt of a gay man named Milo (Hader). Coincidentally, his sister, Maggie (Wiig) is in the middle of her own attempt when she gets the call about Milo. She goes to see him in the hospital and convinces him to come and stay with her and her husband, Lance (Death at a Funeral‘s Luke Wilson), until he is feeling well enough to live on his own again. Milo agrees, and he and Maggie reconnect on a level which they haven’t connected since they were kids – at least on the surface. Inside, they both deal with different demons – her with her marriage-of-convenience and him with the memories of a past lover (played by Ty Burrell from “Modern Family”). Maggie and Milo are a great support system for each other, but they soon discover that they aren’t kids anymore, and they have real adult problems.
The Skeleton Twins is the last movie audiences would expect to come from a couple of class clowns like Wiig and Hader. It’s dark, heavy, and just downright depressing in places. Directed by Craig Johnson (True Adolescents), who also wrote the script along with Mark Heyman (Black Swan), the story is about a pair of siblings who are each approaching their own midlife crisis, both of them dealing with growing up in their own dysfunctional ways. It’s the type of subject matter that is probably more fun to watch onscreen than it is to live through.
Okay, this is starting to sound like a downer. The Skeleton Twins is a good movie. It’s a great movie. Maggie and Milo share the kind of awkward love that all adult siblings have for each other, and that love is not all negativity and rain clouds. It’s just that it is not all rainbows and unicorns, either. In a word, the characters of Maggie and Milo are real. The Skeleton Twins deals with genuine problems like suicide, adultery, pedophilia, and depression, so of course it’s a heavy movie. That doesn’t mean it’s not good. The Skeleton Twins manages the sensitive subject matter in a way that doesn’t make the audience feel bad for enjoying it.
The Skeleton Twins is a heck of a departure from the comedic roles for which both Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader are known, but they both pull it off surprisingly well. The pair displays an incredible chemistry and comfort, most likely the result of their time together on SNL, and it really lets the audience completely buy into their brother-sister roles. The rest of the cast does well, too; Luke Wilson’s awkward, nice-guy husband portrayal is face-punchingly sweet, and Ty Burrell is great as Milo’s scandalous secret from the past. However, the movie belongs to Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader; The Skeleton Twins proves that these two are more than capable of tackling dramatic roles head-on.
The first thing that should be said about The Skeleton Twins is that it’s not a comedy. Now that that fact is on the table, there are a handful of dark comedic gags that help the film deviate from its heavy storyline. Some are subtle, such as Maggie’s ringtone going off as she’s trying to kill herself and playing the theme from “Growing Pains.” Others are uproarious, as in a scene where Maggie and Milo decide to sample the laughing gas from the dental office where she works. There’s even a silly sequence where Wiig and Hader lip-sync their way through a bad Starship song that would be a heck of a lot funnier if Wiig hadn’t used up all of her lip-sync credibility on a bad Wilson Philips song in Bridesmaids. There are pockets of humor in The Skeleton Twins but, for the most part, it’s not very funny. That’s okay, though, because the film is not an actual comedy.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Craig Johnson
- Screenwriter(s): Mark HeymanCraig Johnson
- Cast: Kristen Wiig (Maggie)Bill Hader (Milo)Boyd Holbrook (Billy) Ty Burrell (Rich)Luke Wilson (Lance)
- Editor(s): Jennifer Lee
- Cinematographer: Reed Morano
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Nathan Larson
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA