The Skeleton Twins (2014): Family is a Cruel Joke

Posted: January 29, 2015 in Comedy, Drama
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MV5BNzk5MjM3NDEwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDIxNjYzMjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Story: On the brink of ending their lives, Milo Dean beats his sister to the act but is saved and taken to the hospital. After being contacted, Maggie Dean decides to reunite with her brother and take him into her home on the other side of the country while trying to help him recover. With a husband who seems to have significantly more energy and a more positive attitude, Maggie initially appears pleased to have someone around who betters understands her depressive swings. As they both work out their issues (running into an old romantic interest and testing the sanctity of marriage), they begin to interfere in each other’s lives, with their actions no longer only affecting themselves.

Acting: Bill Hader (Milo Dean) and Kristen Wiig (Maggie Dean) have excellent rapport in this film. Both take a move away from their usual comedic efforts, although there are a few moments that play more true to their bread and butter. The stretch from comedy seems much more natural than you might expect, as their melancholy performances help to portray their characters’ inability to disconnect with their pasts and find solace in their futures. Luke Wilson (Lance) and Ty Burrell (Rich) help to fill out the story, but the focus is truly on the main duo.

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Review: Although the film does have a sadder, darker feel than one would expect from a Hader & Wiig movie, the concept is rather intriguing. Siblings separated for 10 years have difficult, dark histories that continue to affect their happiness. For Milo, his illegal relationship with his high school English teacher carried into his troubles with connection in adulthood. Meanwhile, Maggie seemed to find herself letting go of the past to some degree and moving on with a man who helped to balance out her melancholy tendencies. Both were also struggling with the loss of their father. Finally reunited, their personal issues start to affect the other sibling and end up exacerbating their troubles. This exploration of their challenges and intersection of their lives helps to display the similarities in how these fraternal twins deal with life.

While the overall film was more somber, the best scene involves an incredible lip-sync to Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now. This was not the only lighter moment in the film, with the duo sharing some breaks in their individual drama and Lance’s positivity serving as an interesting counterpoint to the overall tone. The film may not end with as clean of a break in the story, but it allows for a continuation for moving on from their challenges and working toward new futures.

This surprisingly quirky film blends intriguing drama with moments of humor, headlined by a pair of truly talented actors.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5

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