Laugh and Cry With Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig
By Skip Sheffield
Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader made us laugh in their years with “Saturday Night Live.” They may well make you cry with “The Skeleton Twins.”
“Maybe we were doomed from the beginning,” goes the voiceover at the film’s beginning. We know this will not be a cheerful walk in the park, in Mark Heyman’s (“Black Swan”) script, directed and co-written by Craig Johnson.
The fraternal twins are Maggie (Kristin Wiig) and Milo Dean (Bill Hader). Milo is an unsuccessful actor in Los Angeles. In a depressed state, he slashed his wrists and slumped in a bathtub, only to be saved at the last minute.
Maggie (Kristen Wiig) lives in New York with her possibly too-good-to-be-true husband Lance (Luke Wilson). Maggie is notified as next-of-kin, and agrees to take in her brother to help get his life back in order. They have not seen each other in ten years, and they have a lot of catching-up to do.
That’s pretty much it for plot. “The Skeleton Twins” is all about nuance. Milo is a fish out of water; a gay fish who still isn’t over the teacher (Ty Burrell) who seduced him as a teenager.
Milo is proudly gay, but he is despondent that his career hasn’t gone any better.
Maggie is happy on the surface, married to rugged, good-looking landscape architect Lance (Wilson), but she too feels something lacking in her life.
It is revealed that brother and sister are haunted by the suicide death of their father when they were only 12.
Mom Judy (Joanna Gleason) has gone on to re-marry, have more kids, and become an insufferable New Age guru.
“The Skeleton Twins” has good laughs between harsh truths. Hader and Wiig have wonderful chemistry, and nothing shows it better than their lip-synch version of Jefferson Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”
But make no mistake. This is a serious movie with a heartfelt message that family ties can overcome the worst situations. You will laugh, and you may well cry.