Something about the fall brings on at least one requisite film about family dysfunction (see: Home For the Holidays). Craig Johnson's visually sparse, emotionally wrought The Skeleton Twins is no exception. Wasting no time in getting right to the suicidal point, the film opens in an L.A. apartment with Milo (Bill Hader) listening to "Denis" by Blondie as he writes a disinterested farewell note.
On the other side of the U.S., Milo's sister, Maggie (Kristen Wiig), contemplates her own demise as she stares at a handful of pills on which to overdose. As she gazes at them in her hand, her cell phone rings with the caller ID listed under "Unknown," an apropos complement to her other hand, filled with life-ending potential. She decides to answer, stunned to learn that Milo has just failed in his own attempt.
After ten years of estrangement (the reason for which is never addressed), Maggie and Milo are reunited in Milo's hospital room, where he tells her she should leave. The next day, however, she offers him the guest room in her and her husband, Lance's (Luke Wilson), house. Considering his recent breakup that spurred him to try to kill himself, Milo takes her up on the invitation.
The adroitness with which The Skeleton Twins acknowledges how a connection between siblings can usually always be rekindled, even after a significant amount of time spent apart, is what makes it so effective on an emotional level. Regardless of Maggie and Milo knowing so little about the other's current state of existence, they still feel compelled to tell each other the things they could never tell anyone else.
For instance, after repeated bouts of drunkenness, one of which finds Milo on a rooftop and then escorted by the police back to Maggie's, Milo confesses, "I get depressed about my life sometimes and do stupid shit." Maggie gives the even realer reply: "We're all just walking around trying not to be disappointed with the way things turned out." The fact that their father committed suicide lends an added element of tragedy and sense of impending doom for both of them throughout the narrative. But, as the Starship song they seem to love so much insists, "Let them say they're crazy, they don't care about that." And indeed, they don't--so long as they've got each other. Plus, Bill Hader as a gay man is, as usual, everything. Think Stefan, but more nuanced.