Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Daniel Levy, Victor Garber, Mary Steenburgen, Mary Holland, Ana Gasteyer, Burl Moseley, Jake McDorman, Sarayu Blue, Asiyih N’Dobe, Anis N’Dobe
Written by: Clea DuVall, Mary Holland, based on a story by Clea DuVall
Directed by: Clea DuVall
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language
Running Time: 102
Date: 11/25/2020

Happiest Season (2020)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Commingle Jangle

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Clea DuVall wrote and directed this comedy-romance in an attempt to create a holiday perennial for the LGBTQ+ community. Happiest Season does fall into the old groove of being about a couple wherein one partner is out and the other isn't, which usually makes for annoyingly formulaic, lie-based romcoms. But this time DuVall is aware of the trope, and she nonetheless makes it all feel emotionally true. While out one night admiring Christmas lights, Harper (Mackenzie Davis) is swept away in a romantic moment and invites her girlfriend Abby (Kristen Stewart) home for Christmas. On the drive there, Harper confesses that her conservative family doesn't know about her relationship status, and can Abby please pretend to be her roommate? Stewart is the one who really sells this, balancing her fury at the situation and her genuine love for Harper. The cast is tremendous, with Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen as Harper's parents, Aubrey Plaza as a potential temptation for Abby, and Alison Brie as Harper's "perfect" older sister.

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