Parents' Guide to

The Skeleton Twins

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Irreverent, mature, deeply affecting drama about siblings.

Movie R 2014 91 minutes
The Skeleton Twins Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 17+

Depth & Range of Performances are Unexpectedly Excellent & Poignant

Since my review is long, and the final onscreen version of my write-up omits my line spacing for paragraph breaks, I am designating the separation of paragraphs using hyphens and the right arrow head (-->). -->The tenor of this movie resonates as real, true-to-life, for persons from highly dysfunctional families. This true resonance is lacking in most films dealing with dysfunctional families that I have seen. The storyline gives the two main characters opportunities to confront painful feelings from their upbringing by an emotionally shallow mother & a depressed father. This self-confrontation does not come easily nor automatically; rather, it is borne out of each of them making the choice, separately--for themselves, to reach a point of self-honesty after first coming to full despair (hence, the suicide attempts they each make, at different times). -->The ending is ultimately hopeful in that the siblings have a stronger bond and decide to focus on the positive and on the small things in life. A Hollywood treatment of glossing-over hardship and painting a pretty picture is not a part of this movie. -->Though we are used to seeing Wiig and Hader in comedic roles, they are completely equipped with the emotional depth necessary to make this film's material come across as real life. There are no pretty ribbons tying things up neatly at the end--just as there are not in real life. -->The positive aspect at the very end comes, as I said above, as the result of choices the main characters make to confront their difficulties and move past them, with the siblings' support of each other. The expression, "It is what it is," seems apropos here because the positivity does not suddenly erase all the difficulties in life for these two. It merely gives them a fresh starting point, with the new opportunity to lay down the foundation onto which they can move forward and attempt to re-build their lives; or, at least that's the general sense the viewer can take away. The film's ending only takes the viewer up to the point that the decision to start again is reached by each of the main characters, and each of them is rather newly counting on the support of the other. -->I JUST finished watching, and I suspect this is the kind of movie that will return to my thoughts again and again, with it continuing to touch my soul. Because I know myself well and think that I am figuring this correctly, I decided to change my number of stars from my initial rating of 4 to a full 5-star rating. -->The strength of the message of this film, that the painful past can be confronted then let go of, does after all lie in the simplicity of the characters' stories--not some Hollywood, larger-than-life version of transformation. -->While I decided to click the Website button for "Great role models," the characters are not what one would consider traditional role models AT ALL (because of the substance use, extra-marital sex and the brother's initial acceptance of a past molestation by a high school teacher). Yet, for individuals who come from messed up families and who find themselves emerging into adulthood as already-messed-up individuals (from their dysfunctional upbringings), the problematic behaviors shown in the movie won't do harm (because, chances are, they've already found "excesses" as a way of getting by). Instead, what will be the focus of young people's take-away will be that the main characters' problem-behaviors (1) did not help matters and (2) they choose to replace those behaviors with acknowledgement of their painful pasts and deciding to move on in more healthy ways. The latter points, (1) & (2), are what makes me think of these two characters as unconventional role modes.
age 15+

Good movie but not for kids

This movie is great with many great themes. However from the first scene I stopped it and waited for my brother to go upstairs. Mentions and scenes of suicide are not things that should be shown to children.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (5 ):

In many ways, this impactful drama treads a path previously traveled by many other brilliant movies, including You Can Count On Me and the outstanding The Savages. But The Skeleton Twins also forges new ground by pushing the envelope both in humor (there's no issue too dark to mine for absurdity or wit) and sadness (nothing hurts more than the truth). The dialogue cuts like a knife, it's so sharp; it also makes you bleed with its honesty. And it refreshingly feels no need to explain every reference or fill in every gap, trusting the audience to be intelligent and intuitive enough to get it. At times it glosses over one too many things -- the reason for Milo and Maggie's 10-year estrangement is dismissed with a quick "we don't have to talk about it" -- and makes too easy of fun of Lance and those who aren't as complex as Milo and Maggie. Still, with so many other reasons to love it, The Skeleton Twins won't be forgotten anytime soon.

On Saturday Night Live, Hader and Wiig almost seemed as if they could read each other's minds whenever they shared the screen. They were so in tune that you could almost describe their partnership as a mind meld. Ditto in THE SKELETON TWINS, a major coup of a movie that allows them to explore their range -- the verdict: wide and deep -- and tell a propelling and profoundly stirring story at the same time.

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