The Skeleton Twins – Review by Frank L.
Director: Craig Johnson
Writers:Mark Heyman, Craig Johnson
Stars:Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson
Craig Johnson co-wrote The Skeleton Twins with Mark Heyman, a friend whom he had known since they were both in college together in New York. Most of the action takes place in some home town in the vicinity of the great city and depicts a very different New York to that of Manhattan or Brooklyn. It is comfortable, neighbourly and moderately affluent and somewhat dull. It appears to be the area in which Milo (Bill Hader) and his twin sister Maggie (Kirsten Wiig) were brought up by a father who was scary and fun but died when they were quite young and a self-obsessed mother whose children had mere walk-on parts in her life.
The action begins with Maggie in New York about to swallow a large amount of tablets while Milo in Los Angeles is slitting his wrists in the bath. She receives a telephone call from the hospital in which Milo is recovering. She flies to Los Angeles and suggests he comes to live with her in New York. Theyhave not been in contact for ten years so inevitably Milo arriving into the domestic world of Maggie and her husband Lance, all well into their thirties, are each going to find aspects of each other’s lives lie at awkward angles. Milo is an actor, whose principal role has been waiting tables in a tourist restaurant. Maggie has recently married Lance who is a sort of good egg but his gauche enthusiasms are exhausting. Together they make an unlikely eclectic trio as they negotiate their ways around various issues such as trying to become pregnant, nymphomania, high campery, an inappropriate childhood sexual relationship in the past and the pill to name a few.
What keeps the kaleidoscope of happenings within the realm of the possible is the quality of the acting particularly that of Mark Hader and Kirsten Wiig. They accommodate each other as brother and sister in a simple trusting way when they think about aspects of their joint childhood and are generous in the space they give each other in their juxtaposed adult lives. Where they are in harmony is that neither has made much progress in facing into the reality of finding a likely partner for their middle years. They manage to portray all of this convincingly.
It is elegantly shot and visually there are some lovely sequences but form is more in evidence than content and maybe if the number of issues had been reduced the whole would have been more arresting and gripping.