Here come the new holiday films of 2020! ‘Happiest Season’ stars Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as a young couple who are on polar opposite ends when it comes to the holidays. When Harper (Mackenzie Davis) proposes that she and Abby (Kristen Stewart) go to Harper’s parent’s house for the holidays, Abby decided to take the holiday plunge and get to know Harpers family. But what Abby doesn’t realize is that Harper has not only just referred to Abby as her ‘Roommate’, but Harper has yet to come out to her family at all! This traditional ‘look who’s coming to dinner’ holiday film has some laughs, heartwarming moments, and is an important story of accepting and embracing who you are and is worth checking out this season!
Harper & Abby’s relationship is one that too many other couples this holiday season can relate to. Harper quickly comes to realize that she should not have invited Abby to her family for Christmas all too late, and the family proves to be anything but ‘perfect’. The father, played by Victor Garber, is running for a political office, the mother played by Mary Steenburgen is still holding on to the idea of setting Harper up with her high school fling. Harper’s sisters played by Mary Holland and Allison Brie are each attempting everything they can to garner appreciation and validity from the father, who isn’t really interested in much but the potential campaign he may begin. Abby is thrown into the family dynamics with each other that all feel put on, and after seeing Harper’s willingness to play the part her family has always known her as, starts to question why she came in the first place. The film takes a revolutionary step forward as far as LGBTQ+ representation by putting important issues front and center, and in the end, I believe director Clea DuVall nails the tone for this to be universally appreciated.
I really enjoyed the performances from both Davis and Stewart, who have dynamic chemistry together. Davis is able to portray Harper in a way that, whether you agree with her choices, makes you relate to her rather than despise her based on her actions. There are some great side characters such as Dan Levi, Abby’s friend tasked with watching her pets while she is away. His character was a breath of fresh air and brought a lot of heartedness as well as the impactful interpretations of what you see on screen. The story does tend to dwell in some stereotypical moments that holiday romantic comedy films inevitably go to, but it keeps most of the story fresh and unique enough to keep you engaged throughout.
Overall, ‘Happiest Season’ has important messages of inclusion, acceptance, and the joy and love that comes around during the holidays. With great performances from the leads and supporting cast and comedy throughout, this is a great movie to watch this or next month!