Written and directed by Joe Swanberg
It is an inherent belief that the holiday season and family gatherings go hand-in-hand like puffy earmuffs on an exposed frozen ear. Well, writer-director (and co-star) Joe Swanberg backs up this assertion with his dysfunctional familial gem Happy Christmas. The gift-giving in Happy Christmas is predicated upon breezy disillusionment, personal and professional malaise, and the underscoring of being unfulfilled. Once again Swanberg puts his unique stamp on the microscopic root of relationships and the fragile consequences of coping with the pressures of such interaction.
Swanberg — whose underrated 2013 romantic comedy Drinking Buddies examined the vague connections of a male/female co-worker best buddy relationship with undercurrent sexual attraction — delves into the quirky dynamics of a sibling tandem and the circle of family and friends that make up their existing bubble pitted against the background holiday cheer. Happy Christmas is gingerly perceptive and