Happiest Season, 2020 – ★★★★

Is it occasionally trite and rote? Sure. It’s a Christmas Romantic Comedy. But what it is beneath is support and love, as a queer couple follows through that often trite and rote story. Kristin Stewart continues to be wonderful and make us wonder if someone just drugged her each and every day on set of the Twilight films. Mackenzie Davis is good as Harper, the girlfriend in the closet who brings Stewart’s Abby home for Christmas. She may be good, but her character is incredibly frustrating, if rather true to life as a woman trying hard to make her (probably) conservative parents happy. Unfortunately, for at least 70% of the movie, we’re watching the chemistry sparkle whenever Aubrey Plaza’s (ex of Harper) presumably out character and Stewart, making us, with every interaction, wish that she’d just leave Harper and have a wild Christmas affair with Plaza. The rest of the cast all acquit themselves wonderfully, especially Victor Garber and delightfully doofy Mary Holland as neglected black sheep of the family Jane. But true scene stealing standout is Dan Levy in the best friend role of Stewart. He is every bit as funny as father Eugene, and oozes charisma. His moment about the pitfalls of coming out is heartbreaking, and is done mostly through tone. Allison Brie is given a thankless role as the vapid sister, and unfortunately doesn’t much rise above. Overall, a decent story made great by being queer. Clea Duvall is a great writer and director, and maybe with this film’s success she can make a queer movie that ISN’T about the closet.

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