‘The Skeleton Twins’ offers an authentic depiction of individuals coping with depression

Without having read a synopsis or storyline of any sort, it can be easily presumed that walking into the theaters to see The Skeleton Twins implies a purely comical experience. Given that Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are widely acknowledged for their comedic careers as cast members on Saturday Night Live, it’s difficult to part with this assumption. And luckily, you won’t have to entirely. Despite this picture having been shot in only 22 days due to its low budget, and being Hader’s first dramatic role, the film achieves a strong balance between lighthearted humor and heavier subject matter.

The film makes it immediately evident that it’s not a comedy – from the start, the audience is cast into an isolated, Los Angeles apartment where Blondie’s cover of “Denis” is blasting. Milo (Hader) takes a deep gaze into his beloved fish tank just prior to submersing himself into his bathtub and slitting his wrists. Meanwhile, his estranged twin sister Maggie (Wiig) is found standing in New York, coincidentally, with a handful of pills that she is about to consume until she unexpectedly receives a phone call from a Los Angeles hospital that notifies her of Milo’s attempted suicide.

The incident prompts Maggie to fly to L.A. and return to her home in New York with Milo. At the lowest point in their lives, the twins attempt to reconnect while dealing with their respective issues.

The film that was awarded for its screenwriting at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival manages to strike a precise balance. The script is tight enough to achieve a reflective and contented feeling from its audience, and subtle enough to leave the audience just enough in terms of reassessing their own lives, as opposed to spoon-feeding them prescribed emotions.

Writers Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman implore the viewer to investigate their own fears of loneliness and vulnerability alongside the leading roles in a truly human way. The dynamic between the actors is played off effortlessly with Hader and Wiig’s charming and natural personalities. The performances make for an impressively character-driven film.

Yet, the comedic scenes are not to be overlooked. A peculiar balance is struck in which the dark subject matter serves to make the audience feel more connected to the lighthearted portions of the film. Few individuals are more fit to take on the task of re-surging a grim mood than Hader and Wiig.

The strong 1980s score complements the characters’ personalities and leaves the audience with a bittersweet feeling. A karaoke duet between the two talents of Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” is wisely employed just moments after a heavier scene. The duet is both heartwarming and reassuring that there is always someone who can be relied upon to pull us out of our lowest moments.

The Bijou Cinemas (492 East 13th Ave) is showing The Skeleton Twins. Showtimes can be found on their website.

Read more here: http://dailyemerald.com/2014/10/15/the-skeleton-twins-offers-an-authentic-depiction-of-individuals-coping-with-depression/
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