It's that time of year again, kids! The dump months are behind us, we've had our fill of Marvel comic movies and Hollywood has saved the best films of the year for last. That's right: awards season is just around the corner. Currently, much of the Oscar hoopla is revolving around films like Boyhood and Birdman, but there are still plenty of award-worthy films out there. One hidden gem is The Skeleton Twins, a dark comedy starring Rochester's own Kristen Wiig and her former Saturday Night Live co-star Bill Hader.
Wiig and Hader are Maggie and Milo, estranged twins who reunite after Milo, spurned by his ex-lover Rich (Ty Burrell), attempts suicide. In hopes of repairing his broken relationship with his sister, Milo moves in with Maggie and her husband Lance (Luke Wilson). However, Maggie and Milo are both deeply troubled people, and their own personal demons get in the way of smoothly making amends with each other. Milo is in a toxic relationship with Rich, and Maggie is sleeping with her scuba instructor Billy (Boyd Holbrook) behind Lance's back. These secrets may or may not spell out a bad ending for the twins.
Both Wiig and Hader are revelations in this film. Hader handles his gay character with care and sensitivity, while still squeezing in some laugh-out-loud humor and gently channeling his SNL Weekend Update persona Stefon. Regular SNL watchers like myself will definitely sense some of the beloved SNL character in Milo.
Wiig also shines as Maggie; she is already SNL royalty, having enjoyed an extremely successful seven-season run as one of the show’s most popular and versatile regulars, but who knew she could do drama just as well? Wiig proves she has more talents than impersonating Nancy Pelosi and Paula Deen by giving a powerful performance as a woman who appears happy, but is really struggling to accept her lot in life. Personally, I’d love to see her take on more roles like this one. She’s definitely got the drama skill, but that’s not to say she loses her humorous side.
For example, in one scene, Maggie,a dental hygienist, gives Milo a teeth cleaning, and they both end up getting high on nitrous oxide and goofing around. In another epic scene, Maggie and Milo lip-synch Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” to each other, and if that scene doesn’t make you laugh, smile, cry or even get the warm-fuzzies, you might need to get checked out.
Admittedly, I'm not expecting The Skeleton Twins to cause seismic waves of Oscar buzz like Birdman is right now, but nevertheless, I loved it. The acting is strong, the story is beautiful and bittersweet and the ending just might make you cry.
You can catch The Skeleton Twins at Regal Henrietta or The Little during the month of October.