Wednesday, July 2, 2014
And So This Is Christmas (Movie Review: Happy Christmas)
I know that Joe Swanberg is one of those up-and-coming directors and I have his critical hit last year, "Drinking Buddies" on my to-be-watched queue. When I started watching his new movie "Happy Christmas," I was ready to dislike it. It starts two actresses I am really not fond of: Anna Kendrick and Lena Dunham: two millennials who just rub me the wrong way. And about twenty minutes into the movie, I was ready to give up. But I am glad I stuck with it, for in the end, it was really a rewarding experience. This is one of those personal films that would either speak to you, or alienate you. I thought, frankly, that I would be in the latter, but found myself relating to the characters in the film. Kendrick plays Jenny, who arrives in Swanberg's house after a breakup. She stirs these people's lives on the first night of her arrival. And we see how she subtly changes their life. There really isn't a story in the movie, more consequences. Swanberg did not even write a screenplay. I read he had more of an outline, and the actors improvise their dialogue. Funny, though, because I found it more stilted in the beginning, but I (and the actors) eased into the process as we got into the movie. Kendrick is good. She may be a younger Gwyneth Paltrow for me - an actress who always wins me over despite reservations. And Melanie Lynskey is good, too. Even though this movie is set around Christmastime, it isn't really a Christmas movie. I thought I was going to be ironic as I was watching it on a hot Summer day.