Review: The Skeleton Twins

A film that begins with an attempted suicide and proceeds to navigate murky emotional waters, The Skeleton Twins sees Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader take on serious roles with aplomb, the empathy shown in their comic performances translating easily to drama.

Hader in particular is impressive; a truly agonized figure one moment, then full of life the next. He and Wiig have abundant chemistry, making the scenes where they relax into their sibling friendship a joy to watch. It’s a testament to how endearing they are as performers that a bit involving an impromptu sing-along feels like it should be hide-under-the-theatre-seat cringe-worthy, but ends up a highlight.

Luke Wilson also shows up, comfortably slipping into his role as Wiig’s well-meaning husband. He’s a bit of a bonehead, but to the film’s credit he never becomes a villain.

Filled with plaintive music cues and built around the hoary cliché of Hader returning to the town of his youth, The Skeleton Twins often feels overly familiar. The script is perceptive in places, but let down by its structure, lurching from sad to funny to depressing and so on for its duration. Multiple scenes pass that feel like the emotional climax, but the film settles on a contrived finale that contains little of the honesty that preceded it.

The heart tugging moments come frequently, and when they connect, they feel real and earned. But the film ends up a bit too on the nose, leaving some great performances stranded in a story that doesn’t deserve them.

‘The Skeleton Twins’ Movie Times