Monday, 10 November 2014

The Skeleton Twins - review

The Skeleton Twins Milo is very much Bill Hader's Little Miss Sunshine role, similar to Steve Carell (at that point best known for his comedic roles) playing against type as a gay man attempting suicide following a break up who reconnects with his family, in this case his sister Maggie (Kristen Wiig) after being apart for ten years. Proving blood is indeed thicker than water, particularly when it is spilt.

As the two siblings reconnect, it is clear that it isn't just Milo who has problems, as Maggie inwardly struggles with her marriage to Luke Wilson (who is played as a sweet, lovable doofus but completely committed to her).

The reason behind the distance between them is never really discussed and while both of them have their own secrets, the script does a fine job of building the characters with just a look or line of dialogue without the over reliance of expository dumping.

Thanks to working together for years on Saturday Night Live, Hader and Wiig have terrific chemistry and really give the impression that their twins and have that real connection, demonstrated perfectly in the fantastic scene where Milo tries to cheer up Maggie by lipsyncing to Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, a moment that could have been incredibly cheesy but manages to come across as heartfelt and uplifting.

Despite having two strong comedic performers, this is not the laugh-out-loud comedy many might expect and instead is a dark family drama with bittersweet comedic moments to cut through the pain. Comedy and tragedy working seamlessly together. Like Joss Whedon said "I like to hire comedic actors for dramatic parts because comedy is the hard one".

The Skeleton Twins succeeds thanks to two strong central performances that flesh out these two characters, making them relatable and empathetic.

3 stars

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