Happiest Season: Film Review

Happiest Season

Feeling in the mood for a fun, lovely, delightful Christmas movie? Then look no further than Happiest Season.

Clea DuVall‘s film stars Kristen Stewart as Abby and Mackenzie Davis as her girlfriend Harper, who invites her home for the holidays for the first time. What seems like a big step in their relationship is soon crushed with the revelation that Harper is still in the closet and she needs them to pretend to be straight roommates during the five-day visit.

This is the first major studio-backed same-sex festive film, as Christmas movies are largely dominated by white straight characters. It shouldn’t be such a historic, pivotal moment for representation in 2020 but it is – and what makes it even more exciting is that it is a traditional, conventional romcom – it has all the hallmarks of ‘meet the parents’ and ‘going home for the holidays’ films – but it just happens to star a lesbian couple.

Romantic comedy is a genre I’ve always embraced but the heyday of quality ones seems to have been and gone. Happiest Season gives me hope because it’s well-written, there are great characters and relationships, and the ensemble cast is terrific. However, it does suffer from the chronic romcom issue of being predictable, but that’s fine because we came here for warm fuzzy festive feelings. Also, there weren’t enough laugh-out-loud moments. It was always entertaining, captivating, and amusing (and occasionally moving) but I really wanted a hearty laugh and didn’t get that. It’s also tied up a bit too neatly at the end but I can forgive that too.

The cast is the film’s biggest strength. I love Stewart in absolutely everything so me enjoying her performance here is a given, but she brought great warmth and heart to the role and I liked seeing her in this type of film. She had convincing chemistry with Davis, an actress I adore.

The stars of the show are in the supporting cast though – first up is Dan Levy as Abby’s gay best friend John. He was fabulous, so much fun, made me smile the most, and has the most moving moment in the movie – his monologue is powerful and I imagine gay viewers will relate to it very well. Secondly, I loved Aubrey Plaza as Riley, who has a history with Harper. She’s a lifeline for Abby when she’s in need of normality outside of the highly-strung, perfectionist family and I liked that friendship. Then there’s Mary Holland, who co-wrote the movie with DuVall. She shines as the oddball weirdo Jane, who just wants to be noticed as the constantly overlooked middle child. The ensemble cast is rounded out by Alison Brie as the bitchy sister Sloane (we’ve seen Brie in this role before), and Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber as Harper’s parents.

Happiest Season isn’t perfect but it gave me pretty much what I wanted from a festive romcom this year. It’s an absolute delight and I’ll happily watch it again.

Released on digital platforms such as Amazon Prime and iTunes on Thursday 26th November. Available on Sky Cinema and Now TV from 18 December.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Irresistible: Film Review

IRRESISTIBLE

Jon Stewart was known for voicing his opinions about U.S. politics when he used to be the host of The Daily Show, so it’s no surprise he has turned to politics for the subject of his latest directorial effort, Irresistible.

[Read more…]

Terminator: Dark Fate – Film Review

The Terminator franchise hasn’t been held in high regard for many years and I wasn’t convinced Dark Fate could turn it around, so I’m happy to report that it’s a step in the right direction, but not a return to form for the franchise.

[Read more…]

Tully: Film Review

I was into Tully as soon as I saw Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis‘ names attached to it, but I was sold on it as soon as I realised it was another collaboration between Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody (Juno dream team), but it was better, and way more powerful, than I ever expected.

[Read more…]

Emmys 2017: Best and Worst Dressed

It doesn’t feel like awards season ever really stopped, but it’s properly back in full swing! WOOHOO.

[Read more…]

What If: Film Review

THE F WORD

I’ve left writing this review for a few days simply because I struggle to articulate my thoughts on it. Even immediately after the screening, I wasn’t sure what to say and had difficulty putting my thoughts into words with my friend. In a nutshell: It was enjoyable but I wanted more.

[Read more…]