Comedians get real in bittersweet drama
THE SKELETON Twins is a surprisingly sombre look at the relationship between two particular twins.
Surprisingly so because the twins in question are played by comedians Kristen Wigg and Bill Hader.
Both are part of Judd Apatow’s core crew and were Saturday Night Live stalwarts. Then again, Wiig especially is much more into smaller indie films, and this certainly fits the bill.
Though they may be more well known for tickling your funny bone, here they go for more serious fare. That’s not to say you won’t find a few laughs – it is acidic funny in parts, especially once the two really start bonding.
Though the grim material from two people who usually portray dysfunction in a very different way is jarring at first, both win you over with subtly powerful performances.
He is pathos personified as a self-loathing gay man who can rock heels better than his sister, while she spans a wide range of emotions to create an emotionally stunted person.
This is very much a portrait of two people, rather than a comedy with ha-ha laughs or even a tragedy to make you cry. There is no emotional highpoint, or satisfying denouement.
Rather, it is a character sketch of two people who know each other intimately, reconnecting. They know each others’ rhythm and timing, and aren’t so much two sides to a coin as both on the same side.
The director takes his time to paint this picture, not afraid of awkward silence or delving into why the two are self-destructive. At the same time he doesn’t overplay his hand by putting them into impossible situations or letting them magically fix their problems.
The characters they create are very realistic, in responses and their portrayal of broken people.
Estranged for years, they reconnect when Milo (Hader) tries to commit suicide and Maggie (Wiig) realises she has cheated death on the same day.
While they are initially awkward, as they unwind around each other you see that each literally knows the other best, sharing as they do a common childhood and exactly the same upbringing.
Their strained relationships with others are foregrounded as they try to mend their relationship and, depressing as it may be, you see that even skeletons can find joy enough in life to dance.
The ’80s songs in the soundtrack do much to lift your mood, even when the visuals are grim and their epic lip-sync moment to Starship’s Nothing’s
Gonna Stop Us Now is up there with the Starlord trying to sing his way out of trouble in Guardians of
If you liked Winter Passing or This Is How I Leave You, you will like this.
RECONNECTING: Twins Milo (Hader) and Maggie (Wiig).