happiest season

★★★★

director: Clea DuVall (the intervention)

starring: kristen stewart, mackenzie davis, dan levy and aubrey plaza
 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A young woman with a plan to propose to her girlfriend while at her family's annual holiday party discovers her partner hasn't yet come out to her conservative parents.

I LOVE a good Christmas movie; every single thing about them. Every year we prepare our list of Christmas classics to watch and I think that Happiest Season will definitely be on the list for next year. Happiest Season has a stunning ensemble cast with one of the most honest, and as a result, Christmassy films out there.

Meeting your girlfriend's family for the first time can be tough. Planning to propose at her family's annual Christmas dinner - until you realize that they don't even know she's gay - is even harder. When Abby (Kristen Stewart) learns that Harper (Mackenzie Davis) has kept their relationship a secret from her family, she begins to question the girlfriend she thought she knew.

Most Christmas rom coms are those fairy tale, Hallmark kinda movies. Now while Happiest Season has some great moments of romance and comedy, it perfectly and honestly captures the Christmas experience for a lot of people. 

 

The simmering tensions that happen when families get together, unspoken expectations and all the rest of the family baggage that comes with it is put on display here in Happiest Season with such refreshing honesty. A lot of people will recognise themselves and their family members in the people here. 

 

At the heart of the story is the romance between Abby and Harper and the tension and pain that Harper’s secret is causing Abby. It’s truly an eye opening moment of the heart breaking struggle that people in the LBGTQ+ can go through and at times it really is devastating and will leave you in a pool of tears. One moment the Happiest Season will have you belly laughing, the next moment you will be sobbing. It truly is a powerful film.

I’ve seen Kristen Stewart in her more ‘serious’ roles and for me she hasn’t always hit it out of the park. Here she is given a brilliantly well rounded and complex character and her performance brilliantly matches it.

 

The rest of the cast are terrific as well but it’s the slightly under used Dan Levy and his speech near the end of the film that will not only have you in floods of tears again and is ringing with so much pain and truth, but its also one of the best cinematic moments of 2020. 

Happiest Season has a stunning ensemble cast with one of the most honest, and as a result, Christmassy films out there.

★★★★

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