Life doesn’t always go where you want it to. In reality, not all of the high school bullies end up flipping burgers and not all of their victims end up on Broadway. These sad and painful truths are explored in Craig Johnson’s second feature film, The Skeleton Twins. Siblings Maggie and Milo both contemplate suicide on the same day. When neither is successful in carrying out their plans they enter into each other’s lives, after ten years of no communication. The various problems and secrets they are both dealing with are brought to the surface when they open up to one another and embrace the honesty and pain that comes with family. The Skeleton Twins is deeply sad and yet remarkably cheerful. It broke my heart but made me smile. The frustration of life and our failings are almost celebrated in this honest depiction of depression, love and the highs and lows of human nature. Since Juno, films like this have been given more deserved attention and The Skeleton Twins demonstrates why realistic, mildly dark life-comedies such as this should be given proper cinematic releases. It’s hard to pinpoint this movie’s demographic but perhaps that’s because it is a universal story with themes we can all relate to in some aspect. The struggles of marriage, the fragility of love and the pressure of life are just some of the subjects apparent in The Skeleton Twins. With a witty but woeful script, and a killer cast who deliver some truly unexpected performances, The Skeleton Twins is one of my favourites from my first few days at Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Kristen Wiig is most known for her work on Saturday Night Live and recent cinema success in the rather overrated Bridesmaids. I recognised Bill Hader from a variety of small parts in all of those Seth Rogen comedies I hate. Prior to the screening I had pretty low expectations of the film, and particularly the cast. Staggeringly, both Wiig and Hader give superlative performances that are equally raw and realistic. Both are marvellous individually but excel further when interacting. Their on-screen chemistry and their believability makes for truly moving viewing in a film that delights and captivates for its full 90 minutes. Luke Wilson also brings his usual charm and comedy to the project, balancing out the toxic atmosphere that both siblings are capable of creating. The depth of the narrative continues to expand as the film progresses. This a well written, well handled gem with a big heart. The Skeleton Twins deserves a full cinematic release as it is not only funny, thought-provoking and insightful but it is beautifully relatable. Whether it reminds you of your family, your marriage, your job or your high school days, The Skeleton Twins will touch a nerve as well as your heart. This is simplistic, meaningful film making.
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