Holiday films are often a dicey endeavor, but Clea Duvall’s yuletide romantic comedy, Happiest Season, should be a welcome exception to the characteristic lumps of coal we receive this time of year. One of our Most Anticipated Films of 2020 (as well as one of our picks for the 15 Films to See in November), Duvall’s second film after 2016’s ensemble dramedy The Intervention unites two of the most magnetic and eccentric presences of Hollywood—Mackenzie Davis and Kristen Stewart—as a queer couple navigating the complexities of being closeted.
A time-honored but rich tradition of films about the marginalized, this holiday occasion follows Abby (Stewart) as she plans to propose to her girlfriend, Harper (Davis) when she’s invited to Harper’s family home only to discover that Harper is not out to her family. Hijinks ensue in heartwarming fashion, as Stewart and Davis contend with a less than tolerant family (made up of welcome character actors like Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen). And other parts of the ensemble include Alison Brie, Jake McDorman, and Dan Levy, dipping his toes into larger movie parts after the end of Schitt’s Creek.
Yellow flags may usually go up when a film addresses these kind of hot-button issues in a crowd-pleasing format, but especially as written by DuVall, this feels the furthest possible thing from pandering and a clearheaded but enjoyable approach toward a difficult subject.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the film, DuVall spoke candidly about her experiences with her sexuality. “On a journey like coming out, you have no idea what’s going to happen or how people will react, and it’s scary,” she explained. She went even further to say, “There’s a part of your life that changes once you do.”
Watch the trailer below.
Happiest Season premieres on Hulu on November 25th.