The Skeleton Twins

Movie review by S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Skeleton Twins Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 16+

Irreverent, mature, deeply affecting drama about siblings.

R 2014 91 minutes

Parents say

age 17+

Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 14+

Based on 4 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community 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.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
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.

This title has:

Great messages

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • The Savages Poster Image

    The Savages

    Affecting adult drama has mature themes, content.

    age 17+
  • Our Idiot Brother Poster Image

    Our Idiot Brother

    Mature comedy mixes edgy content, sweet substance.

    age 17+
  • Parenthood Poster Image

    Parenthood

    Quality drama charts the pros, cons of family togetherness.

    age 15+

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon picture of a sister and brother holding hands
    Brothers and Sisters
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate