The Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins movie artThe Skeleton Twins (2014)

It’s about family, cyclic self-destructive behavior, and sibling connections.  You wouldn’t expect a movie that starts with dual suicide scenes to go very well, and the cycle begins there.  But Milo and Maggie are connected in more ways than their identical tattoos, and that just might be their salvation.

My synopsis:  We start out with suicide – a cheery way to start a film eh?  Obviously we have a survivor or we wouldn’t have a movie now would we?  Maggie comes to see Milo after not having spoken in 10 years, and they begin to reconnect.  We can tell there is some left over animosity from something, but after an episode with some laughing gas the truths start coming out.  Although they come together we find more issues beneath the surface, and they really dig into each other like only family can.

I have to start out with the same day suicide attempts.  Milo and Maggie (the twins) have not seen each other for a decade, yet their lives seem to be taking the same path.  However, one gets to it a little sooner, and the other is essentially saved by the call from the hospital.  This establishes a connection for the two that continues to play out throughout the film.  It almost becomes cyclical which is one unfortunate side of the plot.  This even continues into another scene where both of them are meeting other people who they “have an interest in,” and the juxtaposition of these scenes can’t be coincidence.

Scenes with Maggie and Milo’s mother are an interesting view into their family, and where they came from.  It seems the title comes from these little toy skeletons that Milo and Maggie’s father gave them as children and they remember through short flashbacks.  We learn more about their father and how their mother deals with the relationship with her children now.  The mother seems unaware, unempathetic, and distant from her children who could probably use a good mom right about then.  It was almost like Milo was reaching out, but found none of what he hoped might have changed about her.  Apparently he did get a good all-important shakra cleansing though.

Moving from the past to the present, the two twins seem to be seeking out self-destructive activities.  Both are doing pretty much the same thing in different ways.  Ironically, they both see what they other is doing, and then judges them for it.  In turn they are judging themselves and their own behavior.

One of the most intense scenes involves a deeply disturbing fight between the two that ends with Maggie going back into the house.  There she finds two goldfish that were in bags that have lost their water.  She bolts into action, feverishly trying to save these two fish.  The way I see it the fish represent her and Milo.  In her mind once she has made a mess of her life and destroyed her relationship with Milo, the cycle that started with her father begins again.

Where we see the cycle breaking is in a storyline about Milo and a high school teacher.  Milo starts to reach back into a hurt-filled past to somewhere he felt good if only for a moment and for the wrong reasons.  Although he lives in the past for awhile, his teacher’s admission that he (the teacher) is “a pussy” along with a few other things seems to set Milo on a trajectory away from his past.

Perhaps with Milo’s new sights set on moving forward, he can use his connection with his sister to help her.  After all, that is what brothers and sisters are for – to be there for each other…

Amazon: DVD & Streaming


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