The Skeleton Twins
Winter 2015 Features series
Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 4:00pm
Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 7:00pm
Directed by Craig Johnson
Screenplay by Mark Heyman and Craig Johnson
Starring Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Luke Wilson
Rated 14A ·
The Skeleton Twins
As children, Maggie and Milo Dean seemed inseparable. But tragedy hit their family as teenagers when their father died, sending them on different paths, and ultimately leading to a decade-long estrangement. Now in their thirties, another set of near-tragedies brings them together. Melancholic Milo (Bill Hader), a frustrated actor with no prospects, decides to accept his sister’s offer to return to their hometown in bucolic upstate New York. However, he is unaware that Maggie (Kristen Wiig) herself is barely holding it together, secretly unhappy despite her loving husband Lance (Luke Wilson).
At first, the bond between the twins is tentative: A surprise visit from their mother (Joanna Gleason), a new-age practitioner who refuses to recognize her children’s pain, only seems to amplify just how little Maggie and Milo have recovered from the events of their childhood. Secretly Maggie and Milo separately seek out relationships that are destined to go nowhere. Maggie enjoys the flirtatious attention of her hunky Australian SCUBA instructor (Boyd Holbrook) a little too much, sabotaging her interest in having a baby with Lance.
Meanwhile, Milo meets up with his first love, Rich (Ty Burrell). After their father’s death, Milo (as an older teenager) had an affair with Rich, his high-school English teacher—a scandal that drove brother and sister apart. At first, Rich is seemingly happy with a girlfriend and grown son and resents Milo’s sudden return. Desperate to get his former lover’s attention, Milo pretends to be successful and happy, which is enough to get Rich to consider rekindling their romance.
With painful wounds that only the other can understand, Milo and Maggie grow closer as they try to guide each other through this newest set of secrets. But as the hurt from the past catches up to the confusion in the present, their special bond is put to the test once again. They bring out not only the best in each other, but also the worst, and they are each desperate to avoid owning their own mistakes. Eventually Milo and Maggie grow to understand that living truthfully and sharing their lives with each other, pain and all, is the only way they can move forward and reclaim the happiness they once enjoyed together.
Deftly weaving humor and sweetness in with the pathos, director Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman’s screenplay won the coveted Waldo Salt screenwriting award at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
“It is what Hader and Wiig do with the words that makes this one of the better movies to come along this year. The pair, who specialized in over-the-top nonsense on SNL, till the terrifying terrain of adults who lost their father to suicide when they were young with such eloquent grace that it speaks volumes about the depth of their talent.” (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times)
“It’s hard to say if Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader give wonderful comic performances with a tragic dimension in The Skeleton Twins, or wonderful dramatic performances with a comic dimension. What’s easy to say is the key word wonderful, which applies equally to the film… This is only the second feature for the director but Mr. Johnson’s work with his actors is impeccable, and his style is freewheeling. Far from an insight retreat, The Skeleton Twins is an insight delight.” (Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)