The Skeleton Twins is a laugh-out-loud, side-splitting comedy...as long as the only thing you watch is the gag reel or outtakes. The actual movie is a funny and heartfelt look at people living lives of loud desperation. Milo (Bill Hader) and Maggie (Kristen Wiig) are twins living a continent apart but still seemingly connected as illustrated through their mirrored actions in the opening scenes of the movie. Milo eventually comes to stay with Maggie and her husband, Lance (Luke Wilson), to ostensibly straighten out his life but, in reality, the situation forces a reckoning with and a reconciliation of a shared past filled with scarred nostalgia, solitary despair and, most of all, deep and abiding regret that changes both siblings.
The Skeleton Twins is ultimately an effective look at depression and hopelessness. It examines how they can both be tempered and, perhaps, overcome by the indomitable human spirit, as ragged and tattered as it may become over a lifetime of abuse and neglect where change and loss and disappointment are the primary constants. We see that every burden is more easily borne when shared. We see that humor can be found in even the darkest of places. We see that shared misery is, indeed, misery halved...eventually.
The movie finds the joy in living one’s truth because, as harsh and lonely and crazy as that truth may be, at least it’s honest. We begin to see that in that honesty we just might be able to find that one person, that single, enduring connection that makes the ultimate difference. We may finally come to recognize that one person who sees us as we are and says, “You’re crazy and annoying but you’ll be okay because, no matter how many times you say ‘see you later’, I still love you and I won’t ever let go.”
Sometimes, that’s all anyone needs...well, that and maybe a few goldfish.