THE SKELETON TWINS is a story about two siblings (Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader) trying to mend a broken relationship with each other after a long separation. Following a close brush with death comes a period of raw self-evaluation and facing own demons for both of them. We see the deep connection between twin brother and sister who share traumatic childhood memories, who let their bond slip away rather than deal with reality. Once reunited it becomes apparent just how close they are: their charmed world with tenderness, inside jokes and a hell of a lip syncing skills is sincere and believable.
About The Skeleton Twins some will say it is funnier than expected. Others will think it is much sadder considering all the comic talent in the film. And in fact the film gives us the full range of emotions with practically each character. Luke Wilson is startling at combining the happy-go-lucky personality with a vulnerability of a husband trying to understand his wife and longing to be a father. Bill Hader’s heartbroken and sarcastic Milo is disillusioned yet still searching for love and approval. Kristen Wiig, on the heels of GIRL MOST LIKELY and HATESHIP LOVESHIP, continues her onscreen path with a misunderstood (mostly by herself) girl-woman disconnected from the world around her. Yet, in THE SKELETON TWINS her performance hits a high note as Maggie, a depressed dental hygienist who is not desperately seeking a way to brighten her bleak life, but to avoid it all together. She distracts herself with a string of exotic and impractical hobbies while trying to almost literally camouflage herself to fit in what she sees as a normality.
The film is a somewhat sobering look at the contemporary version of the lost generation – the Doom generation – trying to find some purpose in life, some happiness or just a sense of belonging. Yet the siblings’ relationship and love for each other through darkest times gives us hope that maybe we are not quite doomed. If nothing else, we will forever have Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”. The story is simple enough and even predictable but THE SKELETON TWINS gives us a powerful and nuanced performances by the whole cast. This is a well done indie film – another win for the Duplass brothers.
On a side note, heading to the theater all I could think of was Stefan and Hader’s enchanting and contagious laughter as he broke out of the character. It was on my mind so much I feared I’d spend the whole time comparing Milo to Stefan. To my absolute delight I didn’t remember about this till after the credits. (I still miss Stefan though…)