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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

Happiest Season

Adorable & Moving

Happiest Season is holiday adorableness at its fullest. Those feelings of familiar annoyance towards family members you know only too well mixed in with fun friends and unexpected surprises all make for the jolly Happiest Season. The film follows Abby (Kristen Stewart), a young woman who plans to propose to her Girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) on Christmas morning only to discover Harper hasn't come out to her conservative family.

Having lost both her parents, Abby is down on Christmas so Harper impulsively invited Abby to spend Christmas with her and meet her family. Abby only finds out Harper hadn't come out to them on the drive over so she reluctantly agrees to play the part of Harper’s orphan friend with nowhere to go on Christmas.

Abby then meets Harper's family: Her father Ted (Victor Garber) who's running for mayor, her perfectionist mother Tipper (Mary Steenburgen), her ditzy sister Jane (Mary Holland) and her other sister, the competitive Sloane (Allison Brie). Happiest Season is the kind of film that you can just tell, the whole cast had an absolute blast filming it. The writing is terrific offering the audience hilarious yet genuine characters.

Dan Levy is this holiday film’s guardian angel as Abby’s best friend. He’s absolutely adorable and laugh out loud funny but also a very safe haven and shoulder for Abby to lean on in times of frustration. Aubrey Plaza also delivers the necessary complexity as Harper’s ex-girlfriend Riley. There's a scene where she and Abby see a Christmas drag show and she opens up to Abby about why she and Harper broke up. While Happiest Season is a very happy film, it does deal with modern homophobia and the pain of being in the closet.

On that note, LGBTQ representation is often a battle to get made generally speaking so I'm thrilled Happiest Season was able to be released on Hulu at all, let alone so close to Christmas. It's great that Happiest Season is such a family film because it'll spark discussions about the equality we all should be having.

The film also takes place in a big Pennsylvania brick mansion which serves as a kind of labyrinth for Abby and Harper’s state of feeling out of place but also a maze for all kinds of humorous situations to unfold. I just love that films today are no longer in sound stages (For the most part) and can really breathe in real locations and you just know when Harper drives up to her big red house that it's all real.

I also feel it's very challenging for comedies to be tender and authentic at the same time. Thankfully, Happiest Season never runs into this problem. It's a very moving comedy that will leave you feeling extra warm and extra snug. It's a comforting experience you'll be bound to return to the next Holiday season.

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