Welcome to a new recurring feature where I highlight a lesser known, hard to find, or just generally overlooked film. In this case the 2014 comedy-drama The Skeleton Twins. I was greatly looking forward to this movie during the press cycle but unfortunately it was a limited release and therefore did not run in my area, and presumably many others.
Craig Johnson wrote and directed this film about an estranged brother and sister who are both on the verge of suicide and must work together to rebuild their relationship. Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader are absolutely perfect as the titular twins. Comedians often make wonderful dramatic actors and this is no exception. Their long history working together on SNL coupled with their impeccable comedic timing makes their relationship the strongest and most believable in the entire film. And it has to be. This is a movie that could come off as overly saccharine or cloying but Wiig and Hader keep things incredibly grounded and believable while still managing to show off their significant comedic chops in a few scenes (one of which is unfortunately spoiled by the trailer). Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell also have very good turns as Maggie’s husband and Milo’s former lover respectively. The Skeleton Twins is all about Maggie and Milo but the supporting cast does a wonderful job of inhabiting their world and helping to inform us how and why they have become so damaged and dysfunctional.
The movie is very brisk and tightly paced at 93 minutes but never feels rushed. Oft times I find dramas tend to be over long or paced in such a way that they feel longer than they really are. The Skeleton Twins does not suffer this problem. When the credits rolled I actually found myself wishing we had spent just a bit more time living with these characters. I think wanting a movie to be longer is a pretty solid sign of a movie worth watching.