Directed by Clea DuVall, the “Happiest Season” is about a lesbian couple who goes through many ups and downs within their relationship before finally getting engaged. The film opens with a cheerful and joyous song called “Candy Cane Lane” by Sia, which only adds to the happiness one feels after watching this film. Kristen Stewart stars as Abby, who has an anti-Christmas persona due to the death of her Christmas-loving parents. Abby is madly in love with her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis), who is obsessed with Christmas, which creates an exciting combination within the two’s love story. “Happiest Season” is a romantic comedy in many forms, combining the usual Christmas cliches to give a person butterflies.
This film is a typical romantic comedy purely by substance; it follows Abby, who decides to spend Christmas with her girlfriend Harper and her family during the holiday season. Abby’s plan is to propose to Harper on Christmas morning, but on the way to Harper’s beautiful family home, Abby learns that Harper has not come out to her family yet. What follows is Abby pretending to be merely a friend and roommate to Harper and comically act like she is an orphan with no parents.
Although there have been many films based on coming out stories, it is an important highlight and obstacle that many in the LGBTQ+ community face. “Happiest Season” battles with that notion, not just from Harper’s perspective of battling her true identity, but also Abby, who is unable to feel loved in the presence of someone that she wants to build a life with.
“Happiest Season” truly captures the essence of family acceptance; it ties in many emotional themes that signify how damaging acceptance can be. Throughout the story, Harper’s father is running for mayor, and as a man involved in politics, one’s family must look “perfect.” There is this idea throughout the story that Harper and her two sisters Jane (Mary Holland) and Sloane (Alison Brie) have to stay in line, act proper and not be their true selves. This only leads to the girls bickering and having fights, along with secrets being discovered and spread.
Outside of the film’s important messages, “Happiest Season” contains strong performances from both Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis. Both actresses represent characters that feel socially crippled by their secrets, which only led to many tears and betrayed their souls for not being the people that they were born to be.
While the movie tries hard to hit home with the feeling of Christmas with Harper’s overbearing and intense family, Abby and Harper’s secret relationship will hit home to many couples throughout the world that have had similar experiences during a time of the year where togetherness is important. This film has an inspiring message of accepting oneself and not letting others depict someone else’s story. It has been many years since movies including “Love Actually” and “Elf” have been in the spotlight, despite their huge Christmas appeal. However, “Happiest Season” deserves the spotlight for being a truly captivating film that will keep someone on their toes. As a Christmas film, “Happiest Season” is likely to be the best movie someone can see this year in terms of new holiday movies, but also because of it’s hearty message nestled in a story about a slow coming-out journey.