ANOTHER week, another manoeuvre in the chess game that is Hollywood’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s time. So said Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins as she announced that the film’s long awaited sequel would retain its December release date. Christopher Nolan’s Tenet aside, Wonder Woman 1984 stands to be the biggest release of the year but will hedge its bets with simultaneous video on demand availability. When cinemas are permitted to reopen, they have now a lifeline. At long last.

Until then, the constant stream of new festive romances keeps us entertained across a multitude of streaming services.

The best of this year’s bunch comes from actor turned director Clea DuVall and stars Twilight’s Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis, who is perhaps best known for her superlative work in the 2016 Black Mirror episode: San Junipero.

The film is Happiest Season and sees Stewart play a young woman - Abby - on the verge of proposing to her girlfriend - Harper (Davis) - only to discover that said girlfriend has yet to ‘come out’ to her deeply Conservative parents. Harper’s father here is stage and screen star Victor Garber, whilst Mary Steenburgen, an Oscar winner for her role in Jonathan Demme’s Melvin and Howard, is her mother. Watch out also for Alison Brie, as Harper’s sister, and Aubrey Plaza, as her ex. In shorter terms, Abby faces no mean feat.

Only DuVall’s second film behind the camera, Happiest Season narrowly missed out on Covid-related delays when filming wrapped in February. It is, however, a pity that the film cannot enjoy the mainstream success that it might have, via a wide cinema release. It is, after all, a rare win for Hollywood to allow gay stories to penetrate the mainstream. Happiest Season won its green light only after Love Simon proved popular cinema to be possible.

In spite of its digital relegation, Happiest Season is appointment viewing. Co-written by DuVall and US comic Mary Holland, the film is a Christmas banquet with all the trimmings. Funny, heartfelt and warmer than roasting chestnuts on an open fire, Happiest Season boasts nuance and contemporary relevance as is not usually found in such festive fare. While the laughs keep rolling, specks of poignant grit shoot from a familiar track and invite real thought and reflection. Just what a 2020 Christmas needs.