I watched The Skeleton Twins last night, having been a fan of both Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader from their stints on Saturday Night Live. Although that show overused Wiig, she was by far and away the star for the last few years, but I felt she was sensational in Bridesmaids, delivering an authentic performance. Hader, though, was just one of the cast. His Stefon character was funny until it got old toward the end, but he was a solid cast member, I thought.
Wiig’s move to Hollywood was successful, but when Hader left, his gig just seemed to be a couple of commercials from some cellphone company, so I was surprised to see he’d been cast in some indie drama alongside his fellow SNL alum Wiig. I knew I was going to see the movie at some point regardless of the content.
So that’s a long setup, but Hader is probably not well known outside of US shores, so consider it an intro.
The result? I loved it. It’s the story of twins who were traumatized badly in childhood and never got the help that they should have, growing up with psychological wounds that continued to deepen through the years, crusted over scabs. It’s a good example of how we tend to overmedicate for the smallest things; fill doctors’ offices with a bad case of the sniffles, yet mental health is still the red-headed stepchild, the elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about. Untreated, sufferers go through life with their internal strifes and compulsions, hurting their own lives and those around them, and few people step in to offer, or even suggest help. Such is the fate of the brother and sister played by Wiig and Hader.
It’s not a preachy movie. It isn’t a message movie about mental illness, but the theme is clear and present. These two people struggling with their afflictions, finally meeting back up again after 10 years of silence, to reconnect and realize that they’ve only ever had each other … it’s touching, and painful, and uplifting, and it feels real. There were times during the movie where I could identify with each of them, and the words of the writers and the delivery of the actors sometimes made me ache to be someone who can write like that. It’s a beautiful piece of writing, and Wiig and Hader are beautiful together. The “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” scene is sublime, and Hader is magnificent in it.
© Andrew Hope 2015