The Reel Review


When Harper (Mackenzie Davis) invites her girlfriend Abby (Kristen Stewart) home for Christmas, drama erupts when Abby discovers just before their arrival that Harper isn’t out to her family, in this Clea DuVall-directed rom-com on Hulu.

Mackenzie Davis and Kristen Stewart in Happiest Season.

If DuVall’s intent was to prove than an LGBTQ-themed Christmas movie can be just as hokey as all of  those heteronormative counterparts on The Hallmark Channel then she has succeeded with plenty of room to spare. Happiest Season is a fun, sweet and earnest story but wow, is it corny. Some of the contrived scenes are downright embarrassing.

Dan Levy and Kristen Stewart in Happiest Season.

The saving grace, however, is the excellent ensemble cast, which succeeds in delivering the message of the importance of being true to yourself. Davis (Terminator: Dark Fate, Tully) and Stewart are completely believable as the girlfriends, with standout performances from Mary Steenburgen as Taylor’s Instagram-obsessed mom and Mary Holland (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) as the oft-ignored sister. With such a long list of supporting cast members, it would have been nice to see some of funnier characters (Dan Levy, Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie) get a bit more screen time, but even so, it is still as much fun watching Happiest Season as the cast clearly had in making it.


• The Oxwood, where Abby and Riley have drinks, is a tribute to The Oxwood Inn, which was the last lesbian bar in Los Angeles when it closed in 2017.

• The drag queens in the bar scene are Jinxx Monsoon and Ben de la Creme.

The main cast with director Clea DuVall (far right) in one of the Instagram photos in the closing credits.

Happiest Season was filmed in Pittsburgh.


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