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SKELETON TWINS, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Having both coincidentally cheated death on the same day, estranged twins reunite with the possibility of mending their relationship.

Review by Louise Keller:
Dark secrets are revealed and raw emotions laid bare in this hard-hitting and moving film in which an indestructible bond between twins is both the trigger and the solution. Director Craig Johnson's film, which he penned with Black Swan screenwriter Mark Heyman, cuts right to the bone and digs deeper and deeper into complex issues involving the imagined road to happiness, expectations and dealing with life's disappointments. Palpable onscreen chemistry and superlative performances by Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader make this a powderkeg of a film as humour and deadly serious issues are interwoven together to form a candid tapestry depicting highly sensitive issues.

After a brief prologue involving flashbacks to childhood, the film sets the dramatic tone by the contemplation of suicide in different cities by estranged twins Maggie (Wigg) and Milo (Hader). The answers to the whys and wherefores are addressed in the next revealing 93 minutes. It is New York in fall when Milo comes from LA to stay with Maggie, the autumnal colours providing a mixed backdrop of rich colours: beauty alongside the bleakness of winter's promise.

This is the trigger that takes us into the reality in which Maggie lives with her perfect, caring husband Lance (Luke Wilson). He's like a big Labrador, observes Milo. The scene in which their New Age embracing mother (Joanna Gleason) comes for dinner is acerbic in its depiction of the awkward discomfort and disconnect of a dysfunctional family. By contrast, the scene in which Maggie and Milo share confidences and reveal their secrets as they sit side by side on the floor makes us understand their strong connection and indelible bond. The symbolic skeletons come out of the closet in more ways than one. The bond is joyously expressed as they spontaneously mime to the lyrics of Jefferson Starship's rousing 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now'. It's a precious, uplifting moment to share.

Then the complications start to peek through the cracks for Maggie at her scuba diving lessons and for Milo when he knocks on the door of the past. These are the revelations that are best discovered first hand as passion, angst and recriminations spit their bile in the lead up to the film's climactic scenes. The Halloween night outing in which Milo is dressed in drag - blonde wig, lashes and beauty spot - starts at 100 and ends at zero.

The struggle for self-acceptance, the ability to let go of deep wounds and move forward in a positive way is beautifully canvassed in this emotionally rich film whose truths dance provocatively before our eyes. The screenplay spools out seamlessly, while the issues are like a web of intricate complexity, offering much food for thought. I connected and was profoundly moved. Wiig and Hader are sensational.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SKELETON TWINS, THE (M)
(US, 2014

CAST: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Ty Burrell, Luke Wilson

PRODUCER: Stephanie Langhoff, Jennifer Lee, Jacob Pechenik

DIRECTOR: Craig Johnson

SCRIPT: Mark Heyman, Craig Johnson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Reed Morano

EDITOR: Jennifer Lee

MUSIC: Nathan Larson

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ola Maslik

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 25, 2014







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