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"Happiest Season" Movie Review

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.


The Christmas season is upon us and it seems like every year we fall into the same rituals. We stress, we eat, we stress-eat, we buy and give and receive and decorate until our eyes are bloodshot. As we settle for the evening, we put on an old Christmas favorite like Home Alone or A Christmas Story or maybe even It's a Wonderful Life. Hallmark and Lifetime pump out more of the same Christmas movies and we watch them half-heartedly because, yeah they're fun, but they're the same plot with different actors. This year, it's looking to be a nice change of pace. Released today on November 25 on Hulu is Kristen Stewart's newest film, a Christmas rom-com titled Happiest Season. Now, most of my readers already know I'm a massive Kristen Stewart fan and have undoubtedly been looking forward to this. Even if it turned out to be bad, I still got to spend an hour and a half with my favorite person. But it wasn't bad. It was downright brilliant.

The film follows Abby and Harper, a lesbian couple who have differing views on Christmastime. Abby lost her parents at 19 and therefore lost all interest in a holiday centered around family. Harper is the complete opposite, excited and absolutely giddy about getting to spend Christmas with her girlfriend. Harper asks Abby to come spend Christmas with her family in a desperate attempt to get Abby excited about Christmas again. Harper's heart drops on the way to her parents' house when she suddenly comes to the realization that (uh-oh) she lied to Abby, having never actually told her parents that she was gay. Harper promises she'll tell her family after the holidays, but in the meantime, that means that Abby and Harper have to harbor their secret love for five days surrounded by people who are snooty, sometimes rude, and have a very closed-minded outlook on other people. Can Abby stick it out or will this be the end of their relationship?

Happiest Season is one of the funniest, most heartwarming Christmas films that I've seen in a long time. Not only does it deal with issues that haunt us all, it also relates well to the modern youth who may have stickler parents which makes them afraid to "come out" and be themselves. It has a ton of humor, thanks mostly to Dan Levy and Aubrey Plaza, but it also has some heavy emotional moments, especially if this subject matter is near and dear to your heart. Meeting your significant other's parents is hard enough, but can you imagine having to hide who you are for the sake of the person you love?

Mary Steenburgen and Alison Brie were fantastic in their roles. Mary played the disapproving-of-everything mother and Alison was Harper's sister. Mary and Alison are both the complete opposites of their characters in reality, so the fact that they were able to make you despise them throughout the movie proves how good of actors they are.

Kristen Stewart had great chemistry with everyone, but especially with Aubrey and Dan. Anytime Dan was on-screen was an absolute riot and Aubrey was basically a more lighthearted April Ludgate, but isn't that exactly why we love her?

Victor Garber played the dad, possibly the only member of Harper's family that was worth anything, but of course he's too busy focusing on his campaign for town mayor to see that he has everything he needs right in front of him. He's a kind man, but also a stuck-in-his-ways sort of man. Essentially, he's the very essence of the typical dad. It's a basic role but one that Victor succeeds in breathing new life into, and charms us with his gentle heart.

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In conclusion, this was one spectacular film, one I recommend to everyone, and I hope film companies learn a lesson here: new material is a good thing. Sometimes the "if it ain't broke" policy doesn't apply. Embrace new subject matter. Don't be afraid of a little controversy. You might just change someone's life, or even save it. I give Happiest Season a 4 out of 4.

© 2020 Nathan Jasper

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