Title: Happy Christmas Director: Joe Swanberg Year: 2014 Run time: 1hr 28m
“A budding novelist and her film director husband, Kelly and Jeff and their two-year-old son live a peaceful existence in Chicago. But when Jeff’s irresponsible younger sister, Jenny, comes to live with them after a breakup, things start to change. Jenny begins a rocky relationship with a babysitter-cum-pot dealer, and she and a friend, Carson, instigate an evolution in Kelly’s life, as her career and her relationship with her husband begin to grow in new directions. But are they welcome ones?”
3:35 - We’re all awaiting the arrival of Anna! 5:47 - I absolutely need a bar in my basement. I don’t have a basement but still. 9:10 - “Q, R, S… okay! You can sing by yourself.” That kid is pretty darn cute. 11:31 - Who describes someone by their nose? Your first go-to is the clothes, no? 14:19 - She’s clinging on to him like a koala. 19:46 - “That got away from me.” Great excuse for being drunk. 26:05 - “I know you’re very cute, but if I spend another hour with you, I’m going to pass out and never wake up.” 29:25 - Her book is so good, I didn’t understand it. Brilliant review. 31:56 - “Having it all is a very dangerous concept because it just means I have to do everything.” 35:50 - His dog is called Mr Pants? 42:14 - “Mr Pants would disapprove.” 52:11 - Love their novel workshopping! 1:00:57 - Girls do like stationery. 1:04:49 - “I liked hanging out with you, whatever.” 1:10:46 - Aw, it was all going so well. 1:19:11 - “It’s a gross thing to say to somebody and it’s also misusing the word.” 1:22:28 - I could actually watch their conversation all day.
It’s fair to say that if Anna Kendrick hadn’t been in this, we wouldn’t have watched it. She tweeted that the film was available on iTunes, so we clicked a look and got watching. It was good, and I’m glad we did click the link, but I did feel it didn’t quite go anywhere.
You get invested in these characters, the natural dialogue (apparently a genre called ‘mumblecore’ - who knew?) makes you feel like you’re watching a documentary rather than a film. It’s fun and games, but the story didn’t quite hold up. The general idea, a crazy sister needs taming whilst sister-in-law needs loosening up, came across well, and the ending scene was good, but it just felt to me like that wasn’t the end. Neither seemed to have the redemption you would expect.
Then again, it was a nice short film, compact, easy to watch and digest, and perfect for just relaxing of an evening. Nothing to complain about really.