As the title suggests, skeletons are somehow a recurring theme in the the second feature film of director Craig Johnson. There are the Halloween skeletons for one, since that’s the period of the year in which our story takes place.
There are skeletons as a figurative reference to death, for both Milo and his twin sister Maggie have a flair for suicide attempts: a call from a hospital in Los Angeles stops Maggie from swallowing the pills she was about to ingest in order to end her life while informing her that her brother was just rescued from death after cutting his veins. After about ten years they haven’t spoken to each other, Maggie invites Milo to stay with her and her boy scout-ish husband Lance in their upstate New York hometown, where she still lives.
The major source of skeletons in the movie comes, though, from the twins’ closets. Both of them are struggling with partly untold problems that have been haunting them for years. Milo, openly gay, moved to Los Angeles in order to become an actor, but makes a living by waiting tables in a small Hollywood restaurant. He drinks maybe a little bit too much and seemingly never got over an affair with his high school English teacher. Maggie, apparently happily married, is secretly on birth control while her unaware, cheery husband, is convinced they’re trying to get a baby.
Between Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, who worked together for years as stand up comedians for Saturday Night Live, there’s a perfect chemistry: who loved them in the irreverent show will definitely not be disappointed by this enjoyable indie, which, despite the gloomy suicide leitmotiv, has a quite light-hearted tone and offers not a few hilarious moments, together with a nice portrait of the deep relationship between the two siblings. With all the “reunited family” love that flows through it, The Skeleton Twins slips however in some overly mushy moments. I won’t refrain from calling it a lovely movie, but film geeks be warned: the back flavor is very, very American.