Happy Christmas

I love Anna Kendrick and Christmas movies, so Happy Christmas was a no-brainer for me. It’s sassy and fast-paced, with a strong cast and an easy feel to it. It doesn’t try too hard to be dramatic, but manages to be naturally by building on an unlikely friendship. If not for an unfinished feeling, I would have given this film a higher score.

The Players:

  • Director/screenwriter: Joe Swanberg
  • Cinematographer: Ben Richardson
  • Music Supervisor: Chris Swanson
  • Starring: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg

Synopsis:

Jenny’s struggling to find a foothold after breaking up with her boyfriend and moving in with her brother, Jeff, and his wife in Chicago. Their adorable baby boy, Jude, seems to absorb her sister-in-law, Kelly’s, life. Jenny’s presence turns out to be both a blessing and a curse for the young family, as they try to teach her about responsibility and how to be an adult.

The Good:

  • Anna Kendrick and Melanie Lynskey: This film quickly becomes about Kelly and Jenny’s relationship as women in different parts of their lives. Both are in need of support in different ways, and the growth of their friendship is one of the best parts about this film. They learn from each other and build each other up so that they can both move forward. This film easily could have been about the male characters, but they sort of drop out of the picture and it becomes about women. Love that.
  • Lena Dunham: I have to say, even though this part was by NO MEANS a stretch for her in the context of her film repertoire, Lena Dunham is a delight to have on screen. Also, she and Anna Kendrick have a fun and witty banter that their fans will love.
  • The BABY: Baby Jude might possibly be the most adorable baby that has ever existed. He makes the film seem so real.

The Bad:

  • Unfinished?: The film ends kind of abruptly. It felt like there were supposed to be a couple more scenes to resolve some of the conflicts that the film brought up, but they’re not there. The last scene is good, and definitely ends the movie, but the film skips a few steps in getting there.
  • What about a Job?: They never discuss how Jenny is going to earn money. She looks for an apartment and helps out with Baby Jude, but her job search is never brought up. How could that be? She’s in her mid-twenties, obviously out of college, and moving to a new city. Add to that the fact that this is a story about her learning to be a responsible adult; of course she would be looking for a job! I’m not sure why they left this out.

Overall:

This is a fun, somewhat abbreviated, indie with a great cast that showcases a wonderful friendship between women at different points in their lives. It’s not exactly what I would consider a thorough exploration of a woman’s coming-of-age, since I feel they skipped a few key elements, but it was still a good watch.

Rating: 7/10