Happy Christmas | Chicago Reader

Happy Christmas

Rated R 83 minutes 2014

This is Joe Swanberg's first movie to be shot on celluloid, though his subject matter is still the domestic rituals and professional aspirations of self-regarding (and uniformly ineloquent) middle-class millennials. After a bad breakup, an irresponsible woman in her mid-20s (Anna Kendrick) heads to Chicago to crash with her older brother (Swanberg), his novelist wife (Melanie Lynskey), and their two-year-old son. Her party girl lifestyle interrupts their domestic tranquility for a bit, though everyone soon learns to get along. The premise may suggest a bland sitcom, though Swanberg's directorial perspective feels less complacent than usual. His stance toward his characters seems to be maturing from shrugging acceptance into active sympathy, and his editing is getting sharper as well (some of the scenes actually display a sense of comic timing).

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Happy Christmas

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