So I started marathoning Christmas movies on Netflix Instant and found one that I thought was fairly entertaining: Happy Christmas. It may have the most to do with my Chickster crush on Ana Kendrick, but I thought it was an interesting look at relationships you don’t normally see examined on the streaming screen, sister-in-laws.
After a life-altering break up, Jenny (Kendrick) moves in with her brother (a film maker) and his wife Kelly (Melanie Lynskey), who is a writer/stay-at-home mom who, obviously, has no time to write. The idea is that Jenny will stay in their done-up basement in exchange for occasionally watching baby Jude so Kelly can actually get somewhere on her second novel.
But from the first night, Jenny proves herself to be immature and self-destructive. Soon she has to learn to earn back Kelly’s trust so she is even allowed to watch the baby and earn her keep.
But this leads to an interesting opportunity. Jude has another baby sitter, so Jenny starts hanging out with Kelly while she writes in a rented office space and they start writing a “50-shades” type novel together, and sometimes Jenny’s friend, Carson (Lena Dunham, another Chickster crush of mine) comes along and helps. This creates an interesting dynamic and explores a type of girl-power relationship that you don’t often see. In fact, my favorite scene is when the dry Anna Kendrick can only tell her sister-in-law how much she likes spending time with her while staring at her smartphone screen. Sounds strange, but this is one of the many times that Kendrick manages to infuse a cascade of emotions into a line or two that most actors can’t even fathom getting into a whole movie. Jenny also bonds with her brother in unexpected ways during the film.