Monday, October 13, 2014

MINI-REVIEW: The Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins

Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig


September 12, 2014

Craig Johnson

Roadside Attractions

1 hour 33 minutes



When the names Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig pop up in a sentence together, the usual thought that follows involves their many hilarious sketches on "Saturday Night Live."  The last thing I think anyone would associate these two comedic powerhouses with is serious family dramatic issues.  And yet, that is exactly what "The Skeleton Twins" says it will be giving to us in its shocking opening scene.  Hader and Wiig play two twins, Milo and Maggie, who haven't seen or spoken to one another for a decade.  After they both have their little brushes with death, Milo agrees to come stay at Maggie's home until he can get back on his feet.  There he encounters old flames, dark secrets, and the struggles that many people face when trying to make tough decisions with their lives.  While the film is funny at times, it's really the sibling drama between the two leads that elevates this film to its potential.  While not a perfect movie, "The Skeleton Twins" is a great showcase at how great Hader and Wiig are when given the task to do dramatic work, as well as a solid showcase of the talents of filmmaker Craig Johnson.

I feel like this is the perfect movie for brothers and sisters to see together, especially if they don't have particularly the best relationship.  I saw a lot of my sister and self in Milo and Maggie, especially during this one scene involving the characters lip-syncing a nostalgic song of theirs in order to clear their heads.  That scene happens to be possibly my favorite scene from a movie this year thus far, so that should be saying something at how great Hader and Wiig's chemistry is here.  Although my sibling and I argue and bicker a lot, as all siblings do, we are still protective and loving for one another.  Hader and Wiig's performances, as well as the cleverly written script by Johnson and Mark Heyman, help to showcase not only a realistic portrayal of the struggles and upsides of a brother/sister relationship, but it also crafts a well constructed story that, despite not clearly explaining everything that happens, is relatable and incredibly moving.

I would have liked to have seen more of the comedic flair that the two leads are known for, but at the same time, I understand why the writers chose not to do this.  And in the end, what was given in "The Skeleton Twins" is a movie that I would recommend people checking out, especially if either A.) they are huge fans of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, B.) they have siblings, or C.) both.  People might be disappointed that this isn't a full-blown comedy, but the overall product produced here is something real and authentic, which is a bit hard to find these days.  So at the end of the day, if "The Skeleton Twins" is playing near you, I'd say that it's definitely an indie gem out there now to check out.  It might not be one of the many movies going out to win an Academy Award, but seeing two "SNL" alums doing dramatic roles is something of a marvel to behold.


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