“Happy Christmas” (U.S. Dramatic)
The prolific director Joe Swanberg and his improv-ready cast conjure up an engaging comedy about women probing their identity in “Happy Christmas.”
Kelly (Melanie Lynskey) and Jeff (played by Swanberg), married with a two-year-old (Swanberg’s scene-stealing son Jude), welcome Jeff’s screw-up sister Jenny (Anna Kendrick) to their Chicago home for Christmas. Jenny’s a mess, prone to binge-drinking and just over a break-up, but she’s also a creative spark that Kelly, a novelist stuck in her stay-at-home mom status, needs to get going.
The byplay between Lynskey and Kendrick, with a boost from Lena Dunham as Jenny’s best friend, opens up funny and emotionally authentic conversations about the perils of women “having it all.”
“Happy Christmas,” directed by Joe Swanberg about a young woman who moves in with family after a breakup, made its premiere Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. The cast includes Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham and Swanberg; part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition program.
“Happy Christmas” screens again: Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Redstone Cinema 2, Park City (Summit County residents have priority; pass holders and others need to wait list); Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at the Eccles Theatre, Park City; and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Library Center Theatre, Park City.