‘Happiest Season’ is exactly what you’d expect from a festive rom-com. It’s complete with romance, ice-skating and family drama, but it comes with a welcome and much-needed twist. The couple under the mistletoe are women. Kristen Stewart plays the charmingly awkward Abby who plans to propose to her girlfriend, Harper (Mackenzie Davis) on Christmas day in front of Harper’s family. Except – plot twist! – Harper isn’t out to her family yet. Abby is therefore forced into playing Harper’s ‘orphaned’ gal-pal with no place to go for the holidays. Hijinks obviously ensue.
The beauty of this film is how generic it is. We’ve got the family feuds, the high school ex, and even the gay best friend role; played respectively by Aubrey Plaza and Dan Levy, who almost steal the show from our sweet couple. Striking a balance between funny and dramatic, with a sugar-sweet happy ending, it creates the comfort of a Christmas rom-com.
It might not be the most perfect film ever made - it is hardly subversive, nor is the formula it follows ground-breaking in terms of style or script - but it’s one of the first of its kind. While queer romances are no longer rare in cinema, they often accompanied by heartbreak or the ‘bury your gays’ trope, and romantic comedies remain a woefully heterosexual genre. So Happiest Season: a cookie-cutter style festive romance playing out so sweetly and joyfully and putting queer love in the mainstream, is definitely a welcomed addition to the Christmas classics this year.