And so, just like that December is upon us. In keeping with the festive theme across Penta this month there was really no choice than to pick a Christmas movie for this month’s Good Vibes movie review. Honestly, there were loads of options to choose from; Home Alone, Die Hard (it IS a Christmas movie!) It’s a Wonderful Life… the list was expansive and endless. But as we are known to do here at Penta, we decided to go our own way and opt for something a little less widely known.
‘Happiest Season’ has all the ingredients and an ensemble cast that would have likely resulted in it being a lot “bigger” of a film than it is, but it finished filming in early 2020 (you can probably see where we’re going with this…) and so thanks to Covid-19 it never ended up getting a theatrical release, instead being limited to digital services. But hey, it is Christmas time and we’re not here to get bogged down with negative energy so let’s get on with our review…
Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis star as Abby and Harper, a charming and very much-in-love couple that decide to spend their Christmas with the latter’s family. The only thing is, Harper’s family don’t know that she’s gay. Meaning that not only is she trapped in the closet over the festive period, but Abby is also dragged back in there with her too.
What follows is plenty of ups and downs, family shenanigans, and awkward/emotional moments both touching and comedic in nature. This is a Christmas rom-com so naturally, there are plenty of the typical tropes and cliches (we don’t mean that in a negative way) before it’s all wrapped up nicely and happily in time for Christmas morning. Of course, this isn’t your average hetero-normal movie, which is genuinely refreshing to see in a major-budget film and when the gags land they are genuinely funny.
Our two main characters are supported by a standout cast. Harper’s conservative family is made up of Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen as the patriarch political wannabe and his image-obsessed wife. Alison Brie and Mary Holland (who co-wrote with Director Clea DuVall) are the siblings who ensure it is anything but a smooth ride, and Aubrey Plaza shines as the secret ex-girlfriend. Also threatening to steal the spotlight is Dan Levy as Abby’s gay best friend, a source of many comedic moments and much sage advice.
Sure, this movie fits into the tried and tested framework of a Christmas rom-com, but it still manages to feel fresh. It is heart-warming, entertaining and easy to watch – exactly what you want from a Christmas movie. All that, plus it touches on the often-challenging subject of coming out, giving it a heightened sense of purpose and a meaning that stretches above and beyond “Christmas is about more than just the presents”. This is a movie about being authentic and being yourself, which is an ethos that resonates deeply with us at Penta.
We would say it is as comforting as one of our sofas in the Pentalounge, or as one of our beds… but they are really comfortable, plus they don’t come with any bumps or ups and downs in them. That being said, if you’re looking for a Christmas movie this year, we recommend you check out ‘Happiest Season’, you won’t regret it. It is available to stream online.
Still credits: “ Happiest Season - Trailer (Official) • A Hulu Original ” uploaded to Youtube by Hulu