The Skeleton Twins
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell
Director: Craig Johnson
Writers: Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman
Storyline from IMDb.com
After ten years of estrangement, twins Maggie and Milo coincidentally cheat death on the same day, prompting them to reunite and confront how their lives went so wrong. As the twins' reunion reinvigorates them both, they realize that the key to fixing their lives just may lie in fixing their relationship with each other.
Like Will Farrell's Everything Must Go or Adam Sandler's Punch Drunk Love, The Skeleton Twins is Bill Hader's (and to a lesser extent Kristen Wiig's--she's had other serious roles the past couple of years) showcase of his acting chops. I know that it makes the film sound contrived, but that isn't my intention. I quite liked Everything Must Go and Punch Drunk Love. I really liked The Skeleton Twins. This movie is funny and sad and charming and frustrating. It's a film that should definitely be getting more attention. Hopefully now that it is out on DVD it will find a wider audience.
The Skeleton Twins follows fraternal twins Maggie and Milo. In one of the opening scenes, Milo has slashed his wrists while blasting music in his apartment. Across the country, Maggie is holding a handful of pills. She is stopped from her own suicide attempt by a phone call telling her of her brother's attempt. Even though she hasn't spoken to Milo in ten years, she flies out to LA get her brother and bring him back to their home state of NY to live with her and her rugged husband, Lance. (Oh, Lance, I love Luke Wilson and he does such a good job playing the golden-retriever of husbands here. You just cannot help but feel for him.)
The lingering effects of growing up in a dysfunctional household has continued to ravage their lives leaving both Milo and Maggie extremely unhappy people. Milo, who is gay, has never quite gotten over a relationship he had when he was younger. He drowns his sorrow with alcohol. Maggie, who wants to be a good wife to her energetic, joyful husband, finds herself drowning her sorrows in sex with her scuba instructor. The depression they share runs in the family. Their own father committed suicide when they were adolescents and their mother checked out of their lives soon after. The two really only had each other until they had their falling out.
While the subject matters of depression and suicidal tendencies is a rough one, both actors bring their amazing comedic touches to their roles. The best scenes are the ones of them reconnecting in various silly ways, and sometimes obviously improved ones, (especially a lip syncing scene to the 80s favorite Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now). While they know how to make each other laugh, however, they also know just what to say to cut the deepest. It's hard for me to imagine many actors who could pull off such a believable sibling bond as these two do in this movie.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with both Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in this film. I wasn't crazy about the ending, but I think this film with its 90 minute run time tells an affecting and wonderful story about two siblings trying to reconnect. I really liked this one and would definitely recommend.