Director: Clea DuVall
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Runtime: 102 Minutes
Main Cast: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Dan Levy, Mary Holland, Victor Garber, Mary Steenburgen, Jake McDorman
Plot: Abby (Kristen Stewart) has hated Christmas ever since she lost her parents as a teenager. Her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) convinces her to stay with her overbearing family over the holiday and Abby agrees, planning to propose.
My Thoughts: A festive romcom with a stellar cast is like food for the soul to me. Happiest Season might just be my most-anticipated movie of the year, and still would have been even if we had blockbusters in 2020. I’ve always been a Kristen Stewart fan but she just keeps getting better and better. I might be a happily married straight woman but KStew, Aubrey Plaza and Alison Brie all in 1 movie has me hot under the collar. Throw in Dan Levy whilst I’m in the middle of a Schitt’s Creek obsession? This movie was always going to make me happy, let’s face it.
It has everything Christmas movie needs. The right songs to get you feeling festive, gorgeous winter scenes, a family so dysfunctional you start to think yours might just be normal after all, laughs aplenty and a moment or two to make you cry. There is just one glaringly obvious problem though, which I’ll probably ramble too much about. It’s not a new concept in a romcom that someone appears by chance and tempts someone away. In Happiest Season it’s Riley (Aubrey Plaza). You see, Harper hasn’t told her parents that she’s gay, and she’s terrified to. Rightfully so, with a family like hers. But it cost her relationship with Riley, and that gives Riley and Abby something huge in common. Plus, Harper is spending an awful lot of time pushing Abby away- giving her plenty of time to get to know Riley better.
Which led me to hoping that Abby would actually ditch Harper. And this is the movie’s biggest problem. We never get to see how Abby and Harper meet and fall in love, we’re just told that they did. In fact, all we see of them is Harper being a total bitch, so it’s really hard to root for her. I was satisfied with the ending though, I just wish I could have spent a bit of time in the past.
Best Bit: Dan Levy is the best friend that everyone needs. He is just incredible here, channeling a bit of David Rose when he forgets to look after all the pets Abby had left him in charge with. But he also delivers such a powerful monologue towards the end of the movie. I’m not the target audience for a speech like that but it brought me to tears.
Worst Bit: Any scene involving Harper’s male ex Connor (sorry Jake McDorman, I’m sure you’re lovely). From Harper’s parents inviting him to dinner to Harper herself ditching Abby to hang out with him, his presence on screen is just, ew.
Fun Trivia: Director Clea DuVall wrote the film as an autobiography. She has said that she wrote it so she could see her own experiences play out on screen.
(This is interesting – was she Abby or Harper?)
My Rating: 4 and a half glasses of spiced alcohol, my favourite thing to drink this time of year.