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.
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.
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.
• Happiest Season was filmed in Pittsburgh.
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