After getting out of a long term relationship, Jenny finds herself a little lost. She moves to Chicago where her brother, Jeff, has agreed to let her stay awhile. Living in a household with a two-year old son, Jenny's irresponsible ways don't exactly mesh, shaking up the idyllic life of Jeff's family. Joe Swanberg's Happy Christmas is a small, charming dramedy about a group of characters who have become a little lost in their lives. While Jenny's problems are the most easily seen, nearly all the characters in Swanberg's film are dealing with some type of insecurity or life-crisis. Jenny's relationship with Kelly, her sister-in-law, is probably the strongest example of this. On first glance Kelly is an uptight housewife whose got her life under control but as the film progresses, we learn that she is dealing with her own issues, struggling to accept her role as a stay-at-home mother instead of follow her dream as a novelist. It's the dichotomy between Jenny and Kelly that's the strength the film, two very different individuals with different problems who are simply longing for happiness in life. The performances are solid all around but there is a undeniable chemistry between Anna Kendrick and Joe Swanberg as brother and sister that I wish the film would have explored a little more. Happy Christmas is a further example of Joe Swanberg's maturity as a filmmaker, exploring the family dynamics and longing common among late 20/early 30s. This isn't the deepest examination, often feeling short and slight, but it's undeniably charming nonetheless.
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