Clea DuVall’s queer holiday romantic comedy “Happiest Season” debuted over the Thanksgiving weekend to divisive reactions. While some viewers adored writer/director DuVall’s LGBTQ take on the Christmas movie, others were left unsatisfied by where the characters Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) wound up at the end of the movie. Spoilers ahead for the film.
While Harper’s struggle to come out to her parents (played by Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen) causes strain on her relationship with secret girlfriend Abby, they ultimately stay together at the end of the film. Clea DuVall explained that creative choice to Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview.
“It’s understanding that sometimes you have to go low so you can figure out your way back up. And I understand the impulse to just cut and run, and be like, to hell with this. But I also really believe that people can get better, people can grow, and people can change. They can recognize that maybe their behavior is not as good as they know it can be, and that they make a conscious effort to change it,” she said.
“I’ve spent four years with Harper — I feel like I understand her, and I love her so much. And I think she’s worth it. I want what’s best for all the characters in the movie. And I think the message that you can mess up, and that you can do the work and get better is really important. And be kind to yourself, and have compassion. Because I think compassion is in short supply.”
DuVall also addressed many fans’ desire for Abby to end up with Riley, Harper’s ex-girlfriend played by Aubrey Plaza with whom Kristen Stewart has an obvious and winning chemistry.
“Do they want Abby to be with Riley, or do they want to be with Riley? I mean, it also can be both,” DuVall said. “She’s incredible in general, and she was so fantastic in this film…. To be able to make a movie and put someone who I love and admire as much as I love and admire Aubrey into it — and then watch people fall in love with her — is so rewarding. I don’t blame them for loving her as much as they do. And I think it’s also so cool to have a movie where people are having these conversations, and are having these debates. That people are engaged.”