The Christmas Films That Inspired Alison Brie’s Happiest Season Performance

December may have just kicked off this week, but the holiday season already has a hit sitting comfy under the tree with Hulu’s Happiest Season. The Christmas-set comedy has a ridiculously talented cast including the likes of Community and GLOW’s Alison Brie, who plays the uptight sister to Mackenzie Davis and Mary Holland’s Harper and Jane. Ahead of playing the role, Brie revisited some classic holiday movies to get inspired too.

Although Happiest Season being a major studio rom-com that features intersecting LBGTQ+ storylines during the holidays is quite new, the movie definitely has elements of classic holiday movies of the ‘90s and early ‘00s. And that’s exactly where Alison Brie went ahead of shooting the Hulu title in Pittsburgh. When speaking with CinemaBlend’s Jeff McCobb, the actress talked about her own research per se.

I don’t know if this inspired my character specifically, but definitely to get in the mood before we shot the movie I watched The Family Stone and I also watched Home For the Holidays starring Holly Hunter, which is a great holiday family movie. It’s so funny and actually [Cynthia Stevenson], the woman who plays Holly Hunter’s sister in Home for the Holidays, I hadn’t watched it in a while and when I did I was a little bit like ‘Oh, that’s some Sloane energy.’

Those are some great picks! 2005’s The Family Stone is about Sarah Jessica Parker’s venture with her boyfriend (Dermot Mulroney) to his family home for Christmas. Much like Happiest Season, the movie has a huge cast including Diane Keaton, Claire Danes, Luke Wilson and Rachel McAdams and it’s all about how uncomfortable it can be to try to meld with a completely different family of one’s significant other.

Alison Brie’s other inspiration before going on to play Sloane in the Hulu movie was the Jodie Foster-directed movie Home for the Holidays, which features an array of siblings in for the holiday antics with Holly Hunter’s character. One of the sisters is not far off from Brie’s Happiest Season character even if the actress did not intend to come across a soul sister to her role in the film. Hey, if you went to enough holiday gatherings and you’d meet a Sloane or two too.

Alison Brie has played cautious before as Annie Edison in Community, but her character in this movie takes it to a whole new level. In Happiest Season, Sloane and MacKenzie Davis’ Harper have an especially tumultuous relationship, taking forms of explosive fights on skating rinks or snide comments. When Kristen Stewart’s Abby notices this dynamic about her girlfriend in the movie, she starts to question their relationship, along with Harper’s decision to keep their entire relationship a secret from her whole family.

On the other hand, Mary Steenburgen told CinemaBlend she was inspired by her role in Elf to play an opposite character that has some more bite to her. Happiest Season is streaming now on Hulu.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.