Program 40 – A Holy Mess
Sweden / 2015 / 108 min. | Directed by: Helena Bergström
In Swedish with English subtitles
Oscar and Simon have invited both of their families over for an elaborate Christmas Eve dinner. Even though they’re still settling into a new home, they’ve gone all out: lights, decorations, festive hors d’oeuvres, the whole shebang. And Simon doesn’t even like Christmas.
The couple has decided to bring their families together for a surprise announcement, and they’ve been waiting (and continue to wait as the evening progresses) for the perfect moment to break their news. Oscar’s relationship with his parents is strained to put it mildly – they haven’t talked in five years – and both he and Simon are nervous about how their families will mix.
Oscar gets along well enough with his sister, though she’s going through her own marital strife, so she won’t be much help. His parents, however, are standoffish and a bit stuffy, too often concerned over what’s proper. They have never quite accepted the idea of him being gay – his father can barely bring himself to acknowledge Simon’s existence. They also happen to be slightly racist, cause for concern when Simon’s mother happens to be bringing her new, Lebanese boyfriend along for the occasion. Add their very pregnant friend Cissi to the mix, and there’s far too many variables for clashing personalities.
Just like clockwork, things start going downhill almost immediately, and before poor Simon and Oscar know it, their perfectly planned evening has imploded practically before dinner’s been served. It seems that salvaging their plans is going to take a Christmas miracle. And a lot of wine.
Touching, knowingly funny, and filled with delightful performances, A Holy Mess is a charming dramedy which knows that – though we may love them dearly – family will always have a tendency to be both a blessing and a curse.
— Adam Lubitow
Official Selection: OPENING NIGHT SELECTION MiFo LGBT Film Festival (Miami) Official Selection: Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival Official Selection: Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival Official Selection: Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival