Genuine and heartfelt stories come every damn day, and thank goodness for the worlds of indie film that get to tackle stuff like this that can’t be neatly packaged but is very very relatable. “The Skeleton Twins” is a tale of family dysfunction that manages to find the serious, the sad, the funny and the hopeful moments in the entire human existence.
A tale of twins Maggie and Milo (Kirsten Wiig and Bill Hader) coincidentally cheat death on the same day, prompting them to reunite and confront how their lives went so very wrong. As the twins’ reunion reinvigorates them both back in their home town where Maggie is married to Lance (Luke Wilson) and Milo strikes up a relationship with an old flame (Ty Burrell), they realize that the key to fixing their lives just may lie in fixing their relationship with each other.
Avoiding gimmicks and nonsense, “The Skeleton Twins” is a shining tale of family redemption that embraces the oddities and uncertainty in all of us and it is hammer home by two brilliantly nuanced performances that are comedic and dramatic at just the right ratio.
Co-writer/director Craig Johnson hits such a naturalistic and entertaining tone for the entire film that we buy into it all from minute one. It’s an earnest and honest tale of dysfunction, it doesn’t lean on tragedy or in huge moments, it gets the overt drama out of the way early and it flows remarkably well as we get to know our two protagonists getting to know each other once again. The two leads invite us as an audience into a story that we could be hearing about while sharing a beer with friends, they make it feel genuine and a part of life.
Kirsten Wiig in her post SNL days is just killing it in a myriad of indie films these days and quite frankly isn’t getting enough credit for being a top flight actress. She is easily capable when it comes to selling a heartbreaking moment and hammering home some genuine and spontaneous hilarity. The script has such a natural air to it and it is so easy to get into an embrace. Bill Hader absolutely kills it as her neurotic and depressed brother Milo and carries the show being dead pan hilarious but also vulnerable and lost at the same time. The chemistry these two have together is natural and amazing as they navigate their way through this story and it is simply too much fun to watch because it doesn’t matter if they are happy or sad, seeing these two rekindle their brother and sister relationship is a magnetic experience.
“The Skeleton Twins” will fly under quite a few radars but it is the kind of earnest and honest family comedy and drama that we can all relate too because quite frankly we have all lived through it. It is an understated master class and dramatic and comedic acting that is simply marvelous to watch and is more than worth the price of admission.
4 out of 5 stars.
“The Skeleton Twins” is now playing in theatres in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, please check with listings for show times.