FILM REVIEW | Happiest Season

Christmas movies are a mixed bunch.

The festive season has birthed a genre that is overwhelmingly populated with truly terrible, absolutely abysmal films - but it is also responsible for modern classics like Love Actually, Elf and The Holiday.

What has been largely missing from the holiday film scene is a good LGBTQIA+ story. Actress Clea DuVall (Argo, Heroes) saw this egregious gap and decided to fill it with Happiest Season.

But is it an immediate classic?

While it is certainly a step in the right direction and has a bunch of really great, awkward comedy moments, it's hard to call Happiest Season an all-round success.

The main problem? Mackenzie Davis' Harper treats girlfriend Abby (Kristen Stewart) poorly for most of the film. It's so clear that Abby deserves better.

The movie kicks off with Harper and Abby preparing to spend Christmas together at the former's family home.

Groundbreaking: Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis start in Clea DuVall's Happiest Season, rated M, in cinemas now.

Groundbreaking: Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis start in Clea DuVall's Happiest Season, rated M, in cinemas now.

But there's a catch - Harper hasn't actually come out to her family, and they think Abby is her straight roommate who has tagged along for the holidays because she's got nowhere else to go.

Her family is a whole other story. Mum and dad (Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber) are stuffy perfectionist who only seem to care about the professional success of their daughters and presenting an image of a happy, traditional family to the world.

Eldest sister Sloane (Alison Brie) is fiercely competitive with Harper, while younger sister Jane (co-writer Mary Holland) is super lovely and helpful, if a little over-the-top, but is treated like a problem child by her family. Add Harper's high school boyfriend Connor (Jake McDorman) and first girlfriend Riley (Aubrey Plaza) to the mix, and you've got a stage set for awkward run-ins.

Abby does her best to fit in with this crazy situation, but finds herself relegated to the background again and again as Harper tries to live up to the image her parents have of her.

The true shining light of Happiest Season is Schitt's Creek's Dan Levy, as Abby's best friend. He has some of the best lines and is a joy every time he's on screen.

Final verdict - Happiest Season is worth the watch, but Abby and Harper and far from a couple for the ages.

Rating: 6/10

This story Happiest Season film review: Good step, poor romance first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.