The Skeleton Twins (2014)

The Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins Review

The Skeleton Twinsis a 2014 dramedy film directed by Craig Johnson and starring the wonderful duo of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. It is one of the most underrated films of 2014.

Milo and Maggie are siblings who haven’t seen each other in ten years. But when Milo is hospitalized after an attempted suicide, they reconnect and share their problems with each other. She is cheating her wonderful husband and taking birth control pills unbeknownst to her husband whereas Milo is trying to reconnect with his former lover, a teacher who was his first. They are both deeply unhappy people with many problems and are in a great deal of depression. That is the story of The Skeleton Twins and although it does sound and is depressive, the movie still manages to have its fair share of laughs and sweet moments which is tremendous as that is how real life works. Real life is both a drama and a comedy, it has its ups and downs and it is very difficult, but it still has its funny and wonderful moments worth living for.

And that is what I love the most about this film. It works so well as a dramedy which is admittedly rare to achieve. And I absolutely loved both of the movie’s subplots as both explore its characters wonderfully and both are relevant and deeply dramatic. The character development in The Skeleton Twins is remarkable and both persons seem real and their issues ring true and that makes the movie so relatable. Milo is so problematic, he is a lonely and frustrated gay man who tries to have a relationship with a teacher who was his first partner years ago. That story is really important as it happens so often in real life. And the character of Rich is so realistic as there are so many of these closeted homosexual men who pretend to be straight and establish a family in order to have a “normal” life, but are having affairs along the way. And Milo is so suicidal and in a deep depression which is very poignant, but he still retains his sense of humor which is also great and grounded in reality.

But I loved the character of Maggie even more as she was so sympathetic, but also unlikable in some of her actions and behavior which once again makes her real. The stuff she does to her husband is just bad and appalling, but she is still deep inside a good person that is just so flawed and doesn’t know exactly what she wants in life and can’t decide if she wants a baby or not, but also can’t suppress her sexual desires. Those are all relevant issues that are present in so many people. Lance is such a lovable character as her husband and as this extremely good-natured and just plain fantastic person. And the exploration of his character I also loved here as it shows you how these people are their own enemies as the world is full of people who are at least somewhat mean and act that way from time to time which is why they almost can’t survive and are to be heartbroken eventually.

It is such a thematically rich movie as Lance was greatly established, but their mother Judy is also very relevant as this cold and plain bad mother and the relationship between the three is so unfortunate, but still so real. But what I loved about The Skeleton Twins the most is how it shows you what a wonderful bond the sibling relationship is and how that is important, especially at this day and age, and how you shouldn’t just forget about your brother and sister as that relationship can help you a lot in life. And that was most evident in that superb ending which shows the greatly grounded and clichĂ©-ridden nature of the picture once again. Real life does not end well, but also does not end in a tragedy. It is in the middle ground and that is why that finale was so emotional and so satisfying. They both lose their partners and they both attempt a suicide, but despite all that, they at least have each other and that relationship to help them get through life’s endless challenges and dissatisfactions.

The acting is so phenomenal. Luke Wilson is so incredibly good in his deeply sympathetic and eventually heartbreaking role and Ty Burrell is quite good in the dramatic role. He isn’t on the level of the other performers, but he still did a respectable job in an unusual, dramatic role for him. But Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader are awesome, both of them. They just deliver in this one and although both comics in most of their roles, they proved that they can be serious in a drama film and that is so admirable. Bill Hader is believable and he did such a fine job in a not so easy role, but Kristen is even better as she pulled it off from start to finish and had a less comedic character.

That is the only problem I’ve had with this film. It is not as funny as it could have been and Wiig or her character should have been more humorous. Bill Hader is really funny at times, but she is mostly straight-forward and dramatic. The humor when present, is quite good, but it is rarely there unfortunately and the tone is sometimes handled not particularly deftly. Also the movie can be too slow for some, but to me it isn’t and I found its pacing rather good. But the directing is also superb and Craig Johnson is so stupendous in the director’s chair. The Skeleton Twins is also well shot and looks good and the score is solid. I absolutely loved its emotional and heartwarming scenes with the singing sequence in particular being so powerful and so beautiful to watch. The dialogue is sophisticated and the movie’s nature is unpredictable and mature which I appreciated a lot. It is one of the better films in such a strong year for film and it is definitely one of the most underrated movies of that year.

The Skeleton Twins explores the troublesome relationship between brother and sister with strong characterization, really superb lead performances and a great mix of funny and serious tone. It can be sometimes too depressing and Kristen Wiig should have been funnier, but it is largely a very good film filled with poignant themes, relevant issues, a very satisfying ending, some incredibly beautiful sequences and a troubled, yet complex and warm look at sibling bonding.

My Rating – 4.5

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Interior & Exterior Stills from The Skeleton Twins

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