Featuring Kristen Stewart as the main protagonist it follows her character Abby and Abby’s girlfriend Harper, played by Mackenzie Davis as they visit Harper’s family for the holiday season. There is one catch though, Harper’s family does not know she is gay which leads to a series of unfortunate events for the happy couple.
I went through two main emotions while watching this film. The first being, how adorable are Abbey and Harper. The connection and chemistry portrayed by both Stewart and Davis were beautifully done. You get enthralled in their relationship wondering how their paths crossed. Your heart genuinely breaks when Harper puts Abbey through some awful situations such as sitting through a meal with her family or when Harper finds Abbey shopping with another woman.
The other emotion I grappled with during the film was the notion of Abbey being gaslit. You get the feeling she is feeding Abbey lies the moment she tells her she will come out to her parents after the festive season. Does this make Harper a bad person? Spoiler no, because I feel for Harper and understand the conundrum she is in. It is pretty clear the family dynamics make it quite hard for Harper to be who she fully is. You see her internal struggle brewing as the film progresses and you get more of an insight into her life growing up.
You get the idea that Harper is happy with who she is and comfortable with her sexuality but her family complicates things. Her father is a political figure and in turn, doesn’t want any scandals attached to the name. Harper is his golden child and she is all too aware of how her news would be received by him and her mother. She wasn’t wrong, not entirely. While her actions are not the smartest and yes she could have done things differently (It was only due to some comedic catastrophes and Abbey finally walking out does Harper realise she has no choice but to come clean to her family) you feel empathy for both Abbey and Harper and the situation they find themselves in.
The rest of the cast were brilliant. A stand-out has to be Mary Holland who plays Jane, Harper’s younger sister. From the moment she walks in you get the idea she is the butt of the joke within the family and Holland’s comedic timing and seamless transitions pandering to this is wonderful. It is purposefully cringy in areas while also being endearing. Jane was seen as a nuisance a tag along by her family so even though there are scenes where she goes to pick up a parcel with Harper who is on babysitting duty on her mother’s orders only to break it, causing a mess before they even left the shop you really do feel for her. In most cases, films make these characters the butt of the joke but the writers really ensure that her character comes full circle and by the end of the film she is no longer the one people are laughing at during family get-togethers.
If this was a regular year, Happiest Season would have been the Christmas blockbuster of the year, setting cinema’s alight, and while it is a shame we don’t have that pleasure Sky and Amazon have given us the opportunity to bring this into our homes.