Why I cried.

Happiest Season (2020)

I was really excited about Happiest Season. A lesbian romantic comedy Christmas movie? Yes, please! And it definitely made me cry, but I don’t think I cried for the reasons it wanted me to.

This post contains spoilers.

Get Out (2017)

I recently decided to watch Get Out again. For one, it’s an amazing movie and for two, I’m all about that horror. As I was watching it, though, I realized that the central, inciting situation and central relationship have parallels to Happiest Season in a hilarious and disturbing way. Frankly and in short, Get Out does it better.

In both movies, our protagonist is going home to meet their girlfriend’s parents. They’re both supposedly happy couples who are in love and quirky things happen. In both cases, the girlfriend hasn’t told her family about a key part of their relationship – in one, she hadn’t told her family her boyfriend is Black. In the other, she hadn’t told her family that her girlfriend is her girlfriend. Not only that, she lied to Kristen Stewart that she had told them! The Girls actress in Get Out might have been able to fain not knowing it would have been a mess, as she does. Kristen Stewart’s girlfriend can’t.

Get Out is a genuinely funny movie. I had only seen it when it was in theaters until this rewatch and it truly is a perfect movie. It’s funny and scary and a damned masterpiece.

Happiest Season is only funny when Aubrey Plaza is on the screen, and even then it’s more charming than funny. It’s disappointing. All of the potentially funny parts are overshadowed by the emotionally abusive way Kristen Stewart’s girlfriend treats her.

The fact that Get Out’s relationship is better and healthier in the beginning than at any point in Happiest Season is depressing. Not only because the one that gets it right is a horror movie where the girlfriend tried to kill him in the end, but also because it’s supposed to be a gay movie with a happy ending. The Get Out Girlfriend (GOG) seems to be genuinely concerned about the feelings of the protagonist. The Happiest Season Girlfriend (HSG) couldn’t give less of a shit about Kristen Stewart’s feelings or opinions or mental health. And yet, they end up together in the end and the audience is supposed to be glad about that.

Happiest Season wanted me, their target gay viewer, to cry because I finally have a trash movie about a lesbian love story that ends happily. They wanted me to feel seen and consume the movie like candy. This is not why I cried.

I cried because my story is so similar but does not have a happy ending. I didn’t wait to get outed to come out to my conservative family, though that would be a good reason to cry. I came out because I wanted to. My family wasn’t forced to deal with it; they didn’t deal with it at all. I cried because this movie shoved that trauma in my face and from what I hear, this is the reason most LGBTQ+ people don’t like this movie. For some reason, people don’t like light being made of their trauma.

So, while GOG is literally a sadistic murdering crazy person, HSG is an emotionally abusive manipulator and the Get Out couple still seems healthier for much more of the movie. In fact, they did such a good job in Get Out that it’s a twist that GOG is what she is. HSG is abusive from the get. From scene one, HSG disregards Kristen Stewart’s boundaries then proceeds to try to uninvite her to her parents’ house after inviting her the night before, clearly disappointed that Kristen Stewart decided to go. Then we find out that she lied to her about a very major thing at a point where Kristen Stewart can’t bail. Red flags all the way down.

Following these scenes where the loving relationship is supposed to be established is more abuse and manipulation. Watching, I found myself rooting for Kristen Stewart to get with Aubrey Plaza because even though they don’t know each other, at least they aren’t awful to each other.

And Get Out is a better movie.

What did you think of Happiest Season? Comment below with your thoughts.

Love, Madeleine