allain’s review published on Letterboxd:
Another one in the ‘and they were roommates’ gay cinematic universe. Happiest Season is a romcom about the catastrophe that entails after a woman met her girlfriend’s family for the first time during the holidays. We follow the life of Abby, who decided to come along to Harper’s family for Christmas, but there’s a twist–her family doesn’t know she’s gay and in a relationship with her.
Growing up in a family where every single thing must be up to societal standards is suffocating in it of itself and competing with your siblings for your parent’s love and affection puts the situation in a whole new level of anxiety, to the point that you hide every single flaw that you can ever think of, even if it means throwing your loved one under the bus because homosexuality is not really as accepted as it should be in this day and age. Hiding your true self sucks, but it cuts deep when your significant other is hiding your intimate relationship to their parents, and we watch as both Harper and Abby struggles to hide their sexuality and affair to Harper’s family, and of course nothing comes good when you’re hiding something.
The film is full of cliches, starting from the roommate cover-up to a typical white family with three kids–one is a goody two-shoes, the other is jealous of the attention that the former is getting, the last one is the ignored out of the three–and while some tropes work, its lack of innovation made every scene predictable. Still, the chaotic predictability of a sapphic romcom remains to be enjoyable until its climax, but it’s the ending that I didn’t like; sure, the climactic third act is cathartic in some way, but I felt like Abby deserved someone better. Kristen Stewart is very charming in this film and the ensemble cast were great as well, but what captured my attention the most is Dan Levy’s character because he’s literally me. All in all, the film is a reminder that our imperfections make us perfect and it’s up to us whether we embrace it or not… and also gay romcoms are better than straight romcoms.