December 31, 2014

Sometimes What We Want Isn't What We Need: Happy Christmas (2014)

Every now and then, we all need a gentle (or in some cases not so gentle) reminder to get us back on track. I find this to be especially true when something traumatic has happened, like a breakup or loss (like a job). Regardless of what initially sparked the change in your life, however, it was likely the very thing that you needed to jolt you back into reality and on track, even if you wished otherwise. This is exactly what happened to the main character in the movie Happy Christmas (2014). A lesson we all sometimes need a little reminding about, particularly when we are facing change in our lives.

Happy Christmas poster.jpgIn the movie Happy Christmas (2014), a broken-hearted 27 year old named Jenny (Anna Kendrick) moves to Chicago to live with her brother Jeff (Joe Swanberg), sister-in-law Kelly (Melanie Lynskey) and nephew after a devastating breakup with her boyfriend. The problem was, having been emotionally raw and still reeling from her breakup--although she contended the complete opposite, she immediately began engaging in self destructive behavior that not only affected herself but also the people that she cared about. Deep down, Jenny knew she needed to get her life on track and find a worthy cause or purpose, which ultimately she did find with helping Kelly write a romance novel; something that proved beneficial and much needed for Kelly as well.

From the first introduction to Jenny in the movie, there was no real indication that she had just experienced a devastating breakup, despite her brother mentioning it to his wife. That is, until she went out with a long time girlfriend and ended up drinking herself into a stupor. This was the first and perhaps biggest indication that Jenny was not in fact alright. After that introduction to the emotionally fragile Jenny, we saw her begin to consider her brother and his family more, although she wasn't 100 percent cured from her destructive behavior, but it did diminish. This was particularly evident when she began to casually date a friend of Jeff and Kelly's (whom she meant while he was babysitting for the couple) as well as helping Kelly with a new book idea. She had a purpose and a budding new life that she was building in Chicago and therefore her need to self destruct started to dissipate.

Movies like Happy Christmas (2014) serve as a great reminder that sometimes life is a little messy and we seemingly get thrown off track as a result. The thing is, that is probably exactly what we need in that moment in our lives: something big to get us back on track to finding what would really make us happy.

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