WHERE TO WATCH:
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
A young woman with a plan to propose to her girlfriend while at her family's annual holiday party discovers her partner hasn't yet come out to her conservative parents.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
If you love romantic comedies and watching two women in love (like me), you'll know that there aren't many movies with both of those characteristics. You either have two straight people falling in love (somewhat hilariously) – one of the most recent examples being Holidate with Emma Roberts – or as evidenced by the last few years of cinematic releases, you get two women in love and living an altogether miserable life. One of the most recent and famous examples of this: Portrait Of A Lady On Fire. It often feels like if you want to see two women live happily ever after you have to turn to TV shows like Wynonna Earp or books like Mostly Dead Things.
That's why I was so excited to see that Happiest Season is now on Netflix. It's a romantic comedy about two women in love - Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) – who are happy together. There's no death, no husbands are waiting in the wings, and it's not a period piece. Instead, they are navigating going home for the holidays and meeting the former's family. The only hitch: Harper's family don't know that she is dating a woman.
Most viewers would hit play based on the lead's star power, because, love or hate Kristen, one thing is sure: she keeps people coming back. Sometimes for a hate-watch or, more recently, because of her incredible talent. That's why I started watching this movie anyway, along with the promise of a happy ending. I went in hoping for lots of make-out sessions and some light drama in between comedic setups. Which is a lot of what this movie is, so I wasn't disappointed. But by far, the best aspect of this film was the supporting cast away from the two leads.
Daniel Levy as Abby's best friend John, Aubrey Plaza as Harper's ex Riley and Mary Holland as Harper's sister Jane are just some of the most stellar performances that round out the cast. It really is a credit to director Clea DuVall that everyone seems so at home in their roles, and even the most awkward moments are easy to watch.
My only criticism is that I wish this weren't a story where we pretend that a family that puts a child through so much can just bounce back to a happy holiday after all the turmoil passes. Life is messy. Sometimes I wish these two women had just sent a text to the parents saying that they were spending the holidays together eating pizza and being happily in love instead of dealing with homophobia. But hey, then I guess we wouldn't have some of the best parts of this film.
All I really want is a movie where two queer people experience relationship problems not related to the outside world's bigotry. Maybe I am asking mainstream Hollywood for too much. This comes close enough, and I would highly recommend watching it, whether it's Christmas in July or you just want to lighten your mood during these dark days.