• Scott Reading

Happiest Season (2020)


"Happiest Season is one of those Christmas films that will become a classic. Not just for the LGBTQIA+ community but for everyone."


Happiest Season is one of those Christmas films that will become a classic, a firm favourite. Not just for the LGBTQIA+ community but for everyone. This film is about accepting yourself, knowing who you are and sharing that with those you hold close.


Abby (Kristen Stewart) is planning on proposing to Harper (Mackenzie Davis) on Christmas Day, unfortunately Abby lost her parents a long time ago and doesn’t really celebrate this yuletide holiday. But Harper offers an olive branch to Abby, asking to spend Christmas with her and her family. However, there is one teeny tiny problem. Harpers family do not know she is gay. It is here that the film truly kicks in and it is absolutely heart-warming and hilarious.


I have to give kudos to writers Clea DuVall (who also directs) and Mary Holland (who stars as the middle sister Jane) who have crafted a typical family/Rom Com/Christmas film that feels fresh and new and in turn says a lot about their writing, Clea’s direction and the array of brilliant actors that they have. There is not one weak link within this perfectly cast film and everyone gets their chance to shine. But Kristen Stewart is the glue which holds all this together. Getting a hint of what she has to offer comically in Charlie’s Angels, the film really turns the comedy up a notch, showing her capability as an interesting and hilarious lead. Labeled the ‘Orphan Roommate’ of Harper, we see her pushed aside as Harper falls back into the family dynamic, becoming somewhat selfish and competitive, not only withdrawing herself back into the closet but also Abby, mentally and physically.


"It is an incredibly touching film, well written and directed, with top notch performances from a talented ensemble and all led by a very charismatic Kristen Stewart."


The supporting cast around our leading ladies are one hell of a fantastic ensemble and each character gets their moment to shine. Mary Holland is Jane, the middle sister who isn’t expected to succeed in anything and is often forgotten about, is one of the films funniest characters. Alison Brie plays the oldest daughter Solane, who is stern, striving for perfection, as well as her fathers attention and an actress that I Iove more and more with every role she plays. As well as Mary Steenburgen as matriarch Tipper and Aubrey Plaza's "Riley", the sultry ex of Harper’s. It’s not just about the women (even though they are stellar), we also have fantastic turns from Daniel Levy, who is a great addition, even if he does just play the same character from Schitts Creek and not forgetting the marvellous Victor Garber.


I have seen a lot of reviews for this film regarding Harpers decisions within the film and I must say, she does make terrible ones. Treating Abby unfairly especially, but I understand where she is coming from. When Harper is thrown back into this conservative family, frightened to be herself, sneaking around for sleep overs with Abby, it all make sense to me, I understand. Coming out is not easy, I told my family and was told to leave. We are better now after many years have passed, but that initial honesty can alter your life. The final scene in which everything comes out, no pun intended, is honest. You understand the sisters need to constantly outdo each other, afraid to show a weakness or anything against the social ‘norm’ like being gay or getting a divorce.


It is an incredibly touching film, well written and directed, with top notch performances from a talented ensemble and all led by a very charismatic Kristen Stewart.


4.5/5


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