The Skeleton Twins - DVD Review

'Director Craig Johnson has takes us on a journey, but offers no more answers than it was possible to find over the course of the few days we spend with the characters. His film is all the better for it.'

The Skeleton Twins' script, by Director Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman, is one of those rare instances of a creation which has the imagination to picture its characters beyond the ninety-odd minutes they spend on screen. Milo and Maggie (Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig), twins who have not seen each other for ten years, arrive on screen fully formed. Milo is a scathing failure, bitter about past problems and his state in life, introduced to us at the point he decides to end it all. Similarly, Maggie is introduced to us about to take an overdose, before she gets the call to say she needs to attend to Milo. As the view of her life widens, we get a picture of someone trapped in cosy tweeness and over-honest pleasantries.

By the end of the film, Johnson has taken us on a journey, but offered no more answers than it was possible to find over the course of the few days we spend with the characters. Maggie's ailments have not been cured and neither, you suspect have Milos. The characters have changed - grown closer, it is not a spoiler to say - but repaired their pains, their drives towards suicide, their tendencies to more everyday moments of self destruction? Johnson and Heyman's script is one which recognises these things are not always possible to depict in the timeline of a single narrative. His film is all the better for it.

If there is one major potential problem with the film, it is that the writers want to have a laugh whilst they take us on the above journey, and succeed in doing do. The Skeleton Twins is a funny film but at times it feels like it shouldn't be. There is no answer to the twins' mental states, no easy explanation of suicide as family trait. Should we be laughing as we embark on a potentially deadly voyage to nowhere? Sometimes, it just doesn't feel like a good fit, even if the jokes are successful.

The dual leads give performances both have been threatening to deliver for some time. Wiig, in particular, is a clear talent who has previously been stuck in a variety of middling films. If this doesn't convince someone to take a leap at putting her in a meaty and demanding major lead then nothing will. Maggie is, in some ways, an unlikeable character, but through Wiig she gets the warmth she needs for us to identify with her and the film's events. On the other side of things, Luke Wilson manages to craft someone so likeable you end up verging on wanting to give him a giant slap.

As a character piece, an 'issue' led Indie and a dark-tinged Comedy, this unquestionably works. The only remaining factor to figure out is whether those elements belong together. The fact that Johnson and Heyman even make you contemplate that they do should hint at the level The Skeleton Twins is typically operating on.

The Skeleton Twins is out in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 16th March 2015.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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