The Skeleton Twins – 4 out of 5
So…hearing the title alone, one might think this film was about a pair of skeletons that are alike in every way…but that would be silly. Who would really think something so foolish? I mean, it’s not like I did and I am not trying to be condescending in an effort to deflect my own stupidity.
|The POV of Spider-Man spying on dudes in the bathtub.|
Even though a film about actually, for realsies, skeleton twins that, most likely, go on adventures, solve mysteries and, without a doubt, play the xylophone on their ribcages would be really rad, the reality is The Skeleton Twins is far from that. The film tells the tale about a pair of fraternal twins by the name of Milo Dean (Bill Hader) and Maggie Dean (Kristen Wiig). After both ended up attempting suicide on the same day, they find themselves reconnecting after a decade of not speaking. After Milo returns home to live with Maggie after his suicide attempt, he seeks out an old acquaintance that holds a dark secret from his past (played by the man who plays my hero Phil Dunphy; Ty Burrell) and he discovers that Maggie is unhappy in her marriage to Lance (Luke Wilson) and has a dark secret of her own. Now the two must face their demons while reigniting their family bond that was once lost.
|Their dark secret? They told people they caught all the Pokémon but never|
On the surface, The Skeleton Twins looks a lot like many indie dramedies that are out in the market. Much of the music sounds no different than something you’d see about some 30 year olds trying to figure out what they want to do with life and blah blah blah and the story looks like it would be right out of Zach Braff’s wet dream. However, the film is definitely a well crafted dramedy that has the right balance of comedy and drama. The story has just the right blend of character development, intrigue, and it never gets too sappy or heavy with its drama and it refuses to get too ridiculous and silly with its humor.
|You can pretty much hear the cliché music this film will play with this shot.|
|"Wiig is pretty funny for a girl." - What a douche|
bag would say.
Aside from the story that is beyond solid, the best thing about this movie is Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. Both have already proven to be funny-makers time and time again and, like most comics, prove that being funny is a gateway to being really dramatic. They were both very believable in their roles and had a real working chemistry that made their sibling-ship (totally a word) feel concrete and legit. They were both sympathetic and flawed characters that were easy to relate to. They were written in a way where they have both done terrible things but weren’t coming off as complete assholes about it—a feat that is really hard in the world of entertainment nowadays because of the trend of making lead characters completely unlikable and horrible. The writers, as well as Hader and Wiig, were able to create and showcase the Dean twins as two people that have made major mistakes in their lives and are trying to live with them. They both really were excellently crafted characters and they were performed fantastically by two performers that I particularly enjoy.
|That moment when you sit against patient files, amirite? We're still using that|
phrase "that moment when," right?
|Wilson is quite adorable in this film...he's like the cool|
big brother that you've always wanted.
The other two big players in the cast—Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell—were also wonderfully written and, not surprisingly, well played. Wilson brings his charms to play Maggie’s bubbly and very optimistic husband. He’s warm and likable in his role and is able to bring it and show his heartbreaking when he learns Maggie’s secret. Ty Burrell is also very engaging in his role as the film teases a disastrous secret between his character and Milo Dean. While it’s not that hard to figure out their history together, Burrell plays the role amazingly well and the story is careful to give just enough details of their past that you can make your guesses but also is crafty enough to not just give it all away right off the bat. These two playing in harmony with Hader and Wiig really made for an exceptional cast in a terrifically written story.
|Dammit, Ty Burrell...stop being so damn likable.|
The only real downside I had for the film is the fact there might not be a lot of replay value in the film for me. While I loved the story and felt the acting was second-to-none, the film’s more serious subject matter and plot revelations might only have an impact on the first, initial viewing and will have no real punch during subsequent viewings. That isn’t to say I won’t watch it again because the film has some very funny moments and I won’t deny its charms but I probably won’t watch this on a lazy Sunday in order to relieve my boredom like I would with the more mindless popcorn films that exist in the world.
|It's a little strange that the little girl actor meant to be a young Kristen Wiig|
actually looks more like a young Bill Hader.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Skeleton Twins. There’s no point in denying its charms or the fact that, on the surface, it looks like a million other indie dramedies about the first world problems of a couple of white people in their late 30s. However, unlike all the cookie-cutter dramedies it has a resemblance to, The Skeleton Twins is a little more subdued, contains far more sympathetic characters that don’t look like they were thought up by a Starbucks barista with a film degree, and contains a very strong and thoughtfully put together story. Is it weird to call a film that centers entirely on a broken relationship of a set of twins that is struggling to come back together after mutual suicide attempts endearing? Because that really is what this film is.