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Title: The Skeleton Twins

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :3.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:79

My first reaction when seeing the promotion for “The Skeleton Twins” was one of excitement, for I love a good comedy and we have a GREAT array of comedians lined up in the casting. Bill Hader, Krisen Wiig, Luke Wilson, even Ty Burrell is more than capable of bringing some chuckles out of me. Color me REALLY surprised when I actually sat down and the watched the film and got a completely different experience. “The Skeleton Twins” has some dark humor in it, with Hader and Wiig really being able to slide it in comfortably, but what we really have here is a much more layered drama that delves into depression, the desire to end it all and reconciliation with one self before healing can begin.

The title gets its name from our two man protagonists, Maggie (Kristen Wiig) and Milo (Bill Hader) Dean. A Set of twins who received twin skeleton toys from their father before he ended his own life. Growing up decades later, the two haven’t spoken in ten years and are both considering following their father’s example and escape from life. Just as she’s about to follow through with her plan, Maggie gets a call from her brother’s physician saying that he’s made an attempt on his life. Putting her own pain on hold Maggie goes down to her brother and takes him back to live with her for a while to recover. While there, Milo has to come face to face with a dark secret from his past in the form or an old high school professor, Rich (Ty Burrell) and Maggie has to open up let loose some of her dark secrets as well.

Milo is living a life of hidden pain, he’s never gotten to where he wanted to in life and he feels like everyone has passed him by. His boyfriend his gone, his old Mentor toys with him and there’s not much that he feels like he can live with. Maggie is just as messed up as Milo is. She’s got a wonderful, loving husband named Lance (Luke Wilson) and she puts on a brave face, but she’s dying inside. Officially the two are trying to have a baby, but on the sly Maggie is taking birth control pills so she doesn’t have to confront her excited husband. Marital indiscretions are a habit for her and her happy little veneer is starting to crack when Milo comes to town. With only each other to hold on to, Maggie and Milo realize that the problems they are struggling with are just the symptoms of something deeper. Something that happened many years ago and something that is haunting them to this day. Sometimes the only way to cure the disease is to find out what’s causing this and the twins are now so vulnerable, so aware of their pain that they are forced to deal with the past in order to salvage what they have left of their future.

“The Skeleton Twins” isn’t so much a dark comedy, but a drama that interjects bits of wry humor to keep it from drawing you down to the same level of depression that Maggie and Milo are feeling. Raw and bleeding, the story engrosses you with the twin’s anguishes and life problems. Milo and Maggie are extremely flawed characters, and even with their huge problems that some may not deal with, they are still extremely relatable. Depression is a mental barrier that a GREAT many people deal with, or have dealt with at some point in their life and this is explored deeply in the 93 minute runt time. Much like most comedy, Maggie and Milo interject little bits of humor into their lives to cope with the feelings of despair, betrayal and abandonment. Both of them watched as a father succumbed to this debilitating mental condition and we can see the ripples from that inciting incident follow the pair into their adulthood and the relationships that they still have. Milo still has feelings for his old Mentor, and Maggie uses sex as a way to escape, to punish herself for all the happy things she COULD be doing and experiencing.

What really makes the movie is the actors here. There’s a few smaller side characters that come or go, but the mainstay cast is Ty, Luke, Kristen and Bill. The four of them sell it like there’s no tomorrow. Kristen Wiig tends to play characters that are a bit complicated or emotionally unstable, but Bill Hader really floored me as he played Milo with a gentle touch. Usually he’s the over the talk crude comedian, but her he’s extremely vulnerable, full of emotion, but barely able to let them out without fear of showing his true self to the outside world. His dialogue with Ty Burell is the highlight of the movie as you see that both sides are struggling, actually in complete WAR with themselves to such an extent that what we see is only the tip of the iceberg. Luke Wilson plays his good guy self, but in a much less “surfer dude” personal than he usually does and the emotional ending with him and Maggie is one of the books.

I came away very impressed with what I saw. I went in expecting a full blown comedy and came out almost pleased that it wasn’t, because what I experienced was something completely unexpected and extremely satisfying. The movie is NOT a happy movie, but there is hope intertwined throughout the pain, giving you this feeling that there IS a new beginning waiting for these tortured individuals. A fantastic cast with a great script can only give great results, and while sometimes the movie felt like the pacing could have been picked up, it still never failed to at least satisfy.


Rated R for language, some mild sexuality and drug use

Video :4stars:
“The Skeleton Twins” comes with a scope 2.35:1 AVC encoded transfer (which is surprising for a dramedy) and gives a very pleasing overall image. The colors tend to feel like they are given that burnished orange tinge from the 70s and also pushes the contrast a bit high, almost to blooming. There is a softness given to the whole image that looks to be artistically driven, as its spread easily over the entire image from beginning to end. Still there is a lot of fine detail present, especially on faces and clothing where you can see the constant five o’clock shadow on Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig’s naturally wispy hair. Black levels look very nice, for the most part, and show some nice shadow detail. However, they weren’t as inky as I could have hoped for in a few scenes as I felt there was just a bit of a washed out look occasionally.

Audio :4stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA presentation is about what I expected. A very nice drama sound track that tends to lean towards the front three speakers for the majority of the heavy lifting. Dialogue is nice and clean, with no distortions or fade outs whatsoever and the dynamics were well balanced between effects and vocals. Never once did I have to lift or lower the dialogue to meet with the surrounding background effects over the course of the movie. The surrounds aren’t exactly the stars of the show, but we do get some nice ambient details to come through. Especially the crunching sounds of footsteps in the leaves or the lapping of the poor as Maggie trains for her scuba diving experience in Hawaii. The LFE channel was surprisingly active for a movie that really just depends on dialogue for the most part. It certainly fills out the bottom end and really makes itself known during the musical bits. A very pleasant track that should please fans easily.

Extras :3.5stars:

• Gag Reel
• Outtakes
• Deleted Scenes with Commentary
• To Whom it May Concern: Making "The Skeleton Twins"
• Sweet Moves
• Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Craig Johnson, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader
• Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Craig Johnson, Co-Writer Mark Heyman and Producer/Editor Jennifer Lee

Overall: :4stars:

“The Skeleton Twins” is not a movie to just sit down and watch with a bowl of popcorn with the kids, but it is a thought provoking look into the inner workings of those who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts from time to time. The onion gets pulled back layer by layer, and as much as I’ve described in this review, there is still several reveals that will get the eyebrows raising upwards. The video and audio are extremely pleasing and for once we have a REALLY nice set of extras with multiple commentaries and great behind the scenes featuerrettes. Recommended for a watch.

Additional Information:

Starring: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Ty Burrell,
Directed By: Craig Johnson
Written By: Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: R
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 16th 2014

Buy Skeleton Twins Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Watch it

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