Movie Review: Happiest Season

By Ben Lindner, Staff Writer
[Hulu; 2020]
Rating: 7/10

It is rare for a movie to be added into the holiday movie canon, or the kinds of movies you watch every year with your family during the winter. The movie has to capture the holiday spirit and remain accessible to everyone, and at least on that basis, Happiest Season deserves consideration to be added to this group of movies.

Read more: Movie Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7

Happiest Season stars Abby, played by Kristen Stewart, who is meeting her girlfriend Harper’s (Mackenzie Davis) family for the first time over Christmas. The catch: Harper isn’t out to her family yet. 

This movie’s greatest strength is its exceptional cast. Stewart and Davis are compelling and believable leads, while Dan Levy provides comedic relief as Abby’s best friend. Also a noteworthy performance, Aubrey Plaza steals every scene she’s in. Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber provide the emotional core of the movie, and no one feels like they are phoning their performance in. Happiest Season is worth a watch for the character and the sensibility with which they are written alone.

Of course, the movie is more than just a bunch of characters. The plot mainly revolves around Abby and Harper pretending to not be dating in addition to Harper’s attempts to impress her family. These things create plenty of traditional rom-com conflict, and at some points, a few of the twists and turns feel a bit contrived. However, the flaws and mistakes of each character feel genuine, and the film makes you want Abby and Harper to stay together, as every obstacle they face feels real.

Happiest Season doesn’t really swing for the fences. It won’t change your life, but it is absolutely a fun holiday celebration that captures the highs and lows of the season perfectly. Don’t write it off as some cheesy holiday shlock; Happiest Season is worth an add to your holiday movie roster.

Watch the trailer here:

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