It’s not unusual for comedic actors to branch out of their comfort zones every once in a while and try something new in the way of drama. Such is the case with The Skeleton Twins, with headlining duo/SNL alum Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader each showing their versatility in this dramedy about love, loss, and the ever present ‘twin-tuition’ from relatively newcomer Craig Johnson.
Estranged twins Maggie (Kristen Wiig) and Milo (Bill Hader) each have their own deep rooted, personal conflicts in life. Milo is still in love with ex-lover and former teacher Rich (Ty Burrell), and affair that ended disastrously for both parties, while Maggie continually cheats on doting husband Lance (Luke Wilson) with numerous men she meets at various lessons (re: Scuba Diving, Salsa Dancing and French Cooking class). But their lives cross after Milo’s failed attempted suicide interrupts Maggies’ own effort to take her life, thus reuniting the siblings once again. It is through reconnecting over the loss of their father some years earlier, and being a pillar of support for one another do they realise that maybe Milo and Maggies lives can be fixed by first repairing their broken relationship with each other.
The chemistry between Wiig and Hader is the real draw point for the movie. Having worked together for so many years has built an easy rapport for the two, effortlessly slipping into their roles as siblings through their shared sense of humour. Wiig has spent a fair amount of her time in recent years starring in more indie, low budget dramas and although she puts in another solid dramatic turn here, the comedic arena seems to be better suited to the actress. The same can be said of Hader, who despite shining just a little brighter as the depressed Milo, seems to struggle with the heavier, more emotional scenes that are prevalent throughout the film.
A key point in the movie is how Maggie and Milo use humour as a means of ignoring what’s really troubling them, which is such a relatable issue we all have done at one point or another. These scenes were the best, as it not only gave Hader and Wiig an opportunity to showcase their comedic strengths, but gave the film a much needed break from the emotional turmoil of its characters. One scene in particular was a perfect blend of dry wit and personal discussion that I really connected with as an audience member and a sibling. It’s a shame that this was one of, if not the only scene that had this cohesiveness, as it would have made The Skeleton Twins a much more regarded family drama.
While it proved an all-round great performance by the cast, disappointingly it was the script that was the weak point here. Although there are heartfelt moments and a stellar comradery between leads Wiig and Hader, The Skeleton Twins has seemingly fallen victim to the ‘been there, done that’ curse that is so customary within the movie industry these days.
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