Co­me­di­ans get real in bit­ter­sweet drama

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT FILM - THERESA SMITH

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

the Galaxy.

If you liked Win­ter Pass­ing or This Is How I Leave You, you will like this.

RE­CON­NECT­ING: Twins Milo (Hader) and Mag­gie (Wiig).

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