Happy Christmas | Salt Lake City Weekly
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  Rated R · 78 minutes · 2014

Comedy drama
Writer-director Joe Swanberg follows up last year’s marvelous slice-of-life romantic dramedy Drinking Buddies with another compulsively watchable film where not all that much really happens, yet you still can’t look away. Jenny (Anna Kendrick) just broke up with her boyfriend, so she decides to start over in Chicago, and stay with her brother, Jeff (Swanberg); his wife, Kelly (Melanie Lynskey); and their toddler (Jude Swanberg, the filmmaker’s own son). Jenny is kind of a mess—a normal human condition few films grant to women—and upsets the household in all sorts of ways. But not all of those ways are bad, as when she inspires Kelly to stop putting off her writing dreams of getting back to her own work, which has been put on hold by motherhood. A master of subtle dramatic observation, Swanberg gently teases wistfully recognizable frustration, tolerance and warmth out of familial love and annoyance in a story that, while short—only 78 minutes—affords a remarkable amount of breathing space to its characters. Swanberg’s unforced humanity and realism are unlike anything other filmmakers are giving us right now.


Staff Rating:
Director: Joe Swanberg
Producer: Joe Swanberg and Peter Gilbert
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg and Jude Swanberg

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