Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A holiday romantic comedy that captures the range of emotions tied to wanting your family’s acceptance, being true to yourself, and trying not to ruin Christmas.
Review: I don’t like Christmas movies. Now before you break out the pitchforks and the poisoned eggnog, let me explain. I have nothing against Christmas itself, but even as a kid, I found these movies to be overly sweet and predictable to the point of boring. That said, there are those, oh-so-rare Xmas flicks that do manage to burrow their way into my cynical heart. I adore How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I think Elf is hilarious, Scrooged is a personal favourite, and A Muppets Christmas Carol will never not be entertaining.
Yes it’s hard to make it on to my list of Xmas movies I’ll give a pass, to and even though Happiest Season sits squarely on the predictable end of the movie shelf, I readily admit, I really really enjoyed this one!
Co-written and directed by Clea DuVall, who most will recognise for her acting working in films like Argo, The Faculty and Ghost of Mars, Happiest Season managed to pull off a very rare feat here. It’s a mainstream, holiday season rom-com, with the kind of couple you don’t ever really see as the leads in mainstream rom-coms. Kristen Stewart (Underwater/Charlie’s Angels) plays Abby, who’s head over heels in love with her girlfriend Harper, played by Mackenzie Davis (Terminator: Dark Fate/Blade Runner 2049). Harper invites Abby to spend the Christmas holiday with her and her family, but there’s just one thing. They don’t know Harper is gay, and she wants to keep it that way, at least for now.
Like most “meet the family” flicks, this one doesn’t shy away from the known formula. Shenanigans abound, mistakes are made and secrets are revealed in an untimely fashion. What makes Happiest Season stand taller than the rest is they don’t overdo the pratfalls and ridiculousness to any eye-rolling levels, and the chemistry between our leads is sweet, grounded and comes across as genuine.
Not that the other actors involved weren’t fun to watch in their roles, but this really is Harper and Abby’s story, and both actresses, from the opening scenes to the final act, completely pull you in and make you root for them. To see their love play such a significant role in this type of movie and to see them pull it off so well is a huge win for the LGBTQ community.
It’s not easy to make a mainstream love story about what most people will see as a non-mainstream couple, and somehow do it so well, you’ll never feel like anything you’re seeing is forced. It’s just another enjoyable rom-com about a couple meeting the family, with all the awkwardness and otherworldliness that can sometimes bring. Think back to the first time you met your significant other’s family. I don’t know about you, but I only exhaled when we were back in the car.
A rollercoaster ride of funny, engaging, sweet and romantic scenes, set firmly against the backdrop of Christmas, Happiest Season is the kind of Christmas movie, even non-Christmas fans such as myself can get behind. That my friends is called a Christmas miracle!
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
For more Christmas fare you can check out Alice’s Hallmark Presents Part 3 here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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