Happiest Season review: Kristen Stewart in ‘heartfelt Christmas rom-com’

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Christmas films are always a risky business, with few managing to juggle schmaltz and comedy with genuine heart well.

Enter The Intervention director Clea DuVall who offers a festive tale about family, authenticity, and romance with the charming Happiest Season.

The film follows blissfully in-love lesbian couple  Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) who are preparing to spend the festive season together at Harper’s family home, with Abby planning on proposing to her girlfriend.

However, Abby is dealt a shock when Harper reveals to her en route to that she hasn't yet come out as gay to her conservative family.

With Harper promising to come out as a lesbian to her parents once her politician dad (Victor Garber) secures conservative campaign funding, Abby agrees to play along until then.

Mackenzie Davis (left) and Kristen Stewart (right) star as loved-up couple Harper and Abby in Happiest Season
(Image: eOne UK)

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As the stay continues, Abby begins to find the pretence as Harper’s 'orphan friend' grating and eventually troubling as its clear Harper has a history of refusing to face up to her parents.

Will the couple’s relationship make it through the festive season?

With charming performances from Stewart and Davis, DuVall makes Abby and Harper an easy couple to root for, even as the latter’s actions grows increasingly frustrating and disappointing as the plot goes on. Stewart is effortlessly cool but suitably awkward, while Davis brings sweetness but anxiety.

Kristen Stewart's Abby has big plans for her relationship with Harper, to the surprise of her friend John (Dan Levy)
(Image: eOne UK)

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The rest of Happiest Season’s ensemble also deliver delightful turns, including the always reliable Mary Steenburgen as Harper’s cutting and social media-obsessed mother Tipper, Alison Brie as Harper’s competitive and resentful sister Sloane, Dan Levy as Abby's sassy but sincere friend John, and Aubrey Plaza as Riley, a charismatic woman from Harper’s past who grows close to Abby.

The film works best when relying on Harper’s family dynamics and emotional tear-jerker moments than its more comedic scenes which are not here in an abundance but there are still a few laughs to be had.

The family is all gathered together for the Happiest Season of the year
(Image: eOne UK)

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The script is witty enough but it’s actually in the relatable dramas of being your true self in front of your loved ones that will provide viewers with the heartwarming cosiness that they would desire from a festive film.

Of course, the glossy and gorgeous houses with festive decorations, lights, and mood with a Yuletide soundtrack will also help get you in the mood for the upcoming celebrations.

Overall, Happiest Season is a warm hot chocolate distilled into a film and an ideal new Christmas film to add to your collection.


Happiest Season is a glossy and heartfelt Christmas rom-com that provides warmth and a few laughs – ideal for a Yuletide evening at home.

Happiest Season is released on digital and VOD in the UK on November 26, 2020.

What is your favourite Christmas film? Let us know in the comments below.

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