Happiest Season (2020 Hulu)
Synopsis (via Hulu)
A holiday romantic comedy that captures the range of emotions tied to wanting your family’s acceptance, being true to yourself, and trying not to ruin Christmas.
The movie begins with storybook drawings of a lesbian courtship/dating over the summer months. In typical lesbian fashion, they are moved in with one another by Halloween. (I can’t even get a second date! Very envious of these ladies.) We pick up the story on December 18th, right in the heart of the holiday season.
Abby (K-stew) and Harper are on a Christmas lights walking tour. Orphen Abby is not a fan of Christmas, and Harper is all in. They sneak away from the tour and climb on a roof to talk about holiday plans. Harper invites Abby to stay with her family for the holidays, and then Abby falls off the roof and breaks her fall with an inflatable snowman. Abby agrees, and here we go! Let the holiday hijinx commence.
With her best friend, John, Abby picks out an engagement ring. John shuts it down, calling Abby out on her homonormativity. (Abby is even planning on asking Harper’s father for his daughter’s hand in marriage.) The only problem is, Harper isn’t out to her family. Harper admits this on the drive and feels bad for lying. She told her parents that she is bringing her “roommate” home for the holidays. She plans to have her family get to know Abby first, and then she will tell them that they are dating. Abby, shockingly, agrees to go along with it. “How bad could it be!”
Harper’s mother, Tipper (Mary Steenburgen), and neglected/Josh Hartnett obsessed sister Jane welcome the couple (pretending not to be a couple.) to their beautiful home. Tipper takes photos of them with an iPad, refers to Abby as an orphan, “one of the lucky ones,” and shows them to their separate rooms because a grown woman should never share a room. (Yikes!) Abby bonds with Harper’s father, Ted (Victor Garber), who is running for town mayor, over his political speeches and Carnegie Mellon.
At a fancy family dinner, Harper is set up with an old boyfriend, Connor. Another ex of Harper’s, Riley, played by Aubrey Plaza, runs into them in the bathroom. Further upping the awkwardness.
Snobby Sloane and her hunk husband Eric arrive for the holidays, and the mood is tenser. Harper and Sloane do not get along well and are in constant competition. The sisters take Sloane’s kids to the ice staking rink, where they speed race. Haha. Sloane and Harper are intense. Sloane gets some alone time with Abby and is very suspicious of her.
Abby takes Sloane’s kids to the mall to look for a white elephant party. The kids slip some jewelry into Abby’s purse, making her appear to be a shoplifter in front of Ted’s politician friend. The family thinks that it would be best if Abby skipped a high profile event.
Alone and sad around Christmas, Abby runs into Riley on the street. They go to a local drag bar for drinks and to decompress. (BenDeLaCreme & Jinkx Monsoon perform, which is a pretty good line up!) Why am I shipping for Riley and Abby to get together? Then Abby meets up with Harper at a straight bar called Fratty’s but is not feeling it and goes home to bed. Harper and Conner close the bar down. The incident causes an argument between the couple. Things escalate. Harper sees Abby and Riley walking downtown.
At the white elephant party, Harper notices Abby and Riley commiserating over spiked cider. John tracks down Abby and plans to rescue her from the family. Abby sees Harper talking with Conner and tells her that it is over and she is leaving. Harper has a meltdown about lying to her parents and putting Abby in an awkward situation. Abby comforts her girlfriend, and Sloane catches them. Harper isn’t the only one keeping a secret. Sloane’s husband is having an affair. Sloane and Harper have a knockdown, drag-out fight in the middle of the party. Sloane outs Harper in front of everyone, and Harper denies it. Abby leaves angrily. The sisters continue to keep fighting; even Jane gets in on it.
John talks some sense into Abby and explains that coming out is a different journey for everyone who goes through it and Harper not coming out to her parents has nothing to do with her love for Abby. Abby realizes that she wants to be with someone who is ready, and that is fair.
Harper admits to her family that she is gay and in love with Abby after the party ends. Sloane admits that she and Eric are getting a divorce. Jane doesn’t have any secrets, but she is an alley. (Haha, Jane is the best.) Ted storms off, not being used to his daughters standing up to him like that. Tipper talks with her husband about the perfect facade they have been keeping up. They decide to make a change in their family.
Harper tracks down Abby and begs for a second chance. Abby forgives her, and they kiss in a gas station, which is no Christmas tree lighting, but I’ll take it.
On Christmas morning, Ted comes down to his family and apologizes to everyone. “Oh Holy Night” plays while the family opens gifts. Ted gets a call, and he will get the endorsement from Ana Gasteyer, if Harper adopts a “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Ted declines the offer. They take an iPad family photo and ask Abby to be in the photo.
One Year Later, Jane and John have written a bestselling novel. The family watches “It’s a Wonderful Life” together and celebrate another holiday together. The closing credits include Tipper’s Instagram feed with updates. She supports her daughters and celebrates what makes them unique. It is very cute.
Lifetime legend Caroline Harris is in this movie!
Minority Report: Kelly, tour guide, Eric, Magnus, Matilda, Trudy, Caroline, Leroy
🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄 (5 Christmas Trees)
🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required.)
*Photo Credit: © 2020 Hulu