'Happiest Season' is a film that feels mischievously revolutionary


Naturally, hijinks ensue. Abby and Harper keep up the lie through absurdly implausible cover stories ("He was a.milk.man", Abby mumbles about a fictional ex-boyfriend), cringeworthy conversations with clueless friends, and stolen embraces that devolve into slapstick. And though Happiest Season will make you weep due to its genuine weightiness, it will also live up to its name by spreading happiness and cheer. It doesn't always make for the cuddliest experience; at times, especially as tensions between Abby, Harper, and various Caldwells come to a boil, Happiest Season can lean more bitter than sweet. It's in a burst of Yuletide joy that she accepts her girlfriend's spontaneous invitation to accompany her to her family's home for the holidays, Abby secretly figuring it'll be the ideal opportunity to pop the question. Their parents (Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen) are image-obsessed meddlers. It's a stacked supporting cast with the likes of Dan Levy and Aubrey Plaza, with the latter giving such a nice and laidback performance.

Happiest Season, however, offers a twist that only a queer spin on the genre could offer. It's set to be the flawless Christmas until Harper tells Abby that she's not out to her parents; this complication is further complicated by the fact that Ted is trying to become mayor, that Harper's mom Tipper (Mary Steenburgen) is trying curate the most wholesome family image, and the appearance of Harper's exes.

She's a natural filmmaker and writer. Happiest Season goes a little harder on the comedy and broadness, but in an appealing way. There are moments of authenticity, not only inclusion, we just rarely see in holiday movies. With that in mind, we're excited to kick off the holidays with Happiest Season streaming on Hulu. And therefore helping each other tell stories. It is like a lot of studio comedies in tone and hijinks, but it's also a much-needed change of pace for a holiday film.

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As for the hijinks, it's pretty good stuff. On top of that, Levy, unlike a lot of gay men in comedies, isn't exclusively comedic relief. (To the latter point: Yes, but I'm not mad about it.) The tone can be tough to pin down, leading to scenes that feel neither as amusing nor as serious as they should.

Had things gone as planned, Ammonite would have debuted at the Cannes Film Festival before hitting cinemas this month, and Season would be debuting in theatres across the USA this weekend. And just as Jimmy Stewart made us laugh even as he cried in It's A Wonderful Life, Kristen Stewart, Steenburgen and Levy do the same.

"All of those sort of markers of why it's special, it's the first, the first, the first, it also has to be great in order to hold those titles", Mackenzie Davis tells Yahoo Entertainment during a recent virtual press day for the film (watch video above). The actress revealed her stance in the issue during an interview with Variety to discuss her upcoming film "Happiest Season", in which she portrays a young lesbian who celebrates the holidays at her girlfriend's parents' home.