As a Southern California Jew with a Christmas Eve birthday my feelings about Christmas are intense and specific. My location was never a Winter Wonderland, my religion kept me out of most festivities, and my birthday was always overshadowed. Theoretically I should hate it, right? Wrong. I love Christmas. And I love Christmas movies.
For me it’s not about Jesus or even Santa. It’s not about family traditions or any one specific aspect of the season. It’s about the season itself. It’s about us all taking a break from our normal lives. It’s about us sharing in joy or depression, in family or lack of family, in romance or lack of romance. It’s about pine trees with lights or palm trees with lights and how we’re all participating in the ways that we can.
This spirit has been captured time and again in movies ranging from classics to Hallmark’s yearly output. With their platitudes and charm, Christmas movies can feel as cozy as a crackling fire. They also tend to be as straight as my aunt’s holiday party.
Well, a very merry Christmas to us all! Netflix’s new holiday movie has a queer romance!
Based on John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle’s collection of the same name, Let It Snow, is a classic wintertime ensemble with a series of intersecting stories about love and friendship, family and aspirations. On Christmas Eve in a small town, a snow storm has arrived interrupting and creating drama for a group of angsty teens.
Liv Hewson plays Dorrie, an employee at the local Waffle Town who we first meet shopping for a present for her best friend Addie. As Dorrie talks about not knowing how to text a girl and Addie talks about her boyfriend ignoring her, it seems like the two friends are bound for romance. Well, I am thrilled to share this isn’t the case. While Dorrie and Addie’s friendship is central to the movie, it doesn’t fall into that tired trope. They’re allowed to just be friends! Dorrie is allowed to crush on someone who isn’t straight!
But it’s still not easy for Dorrie. Her love interest played by Anna Akana is suddenly cold around her group of popular girl straight friends. And this is after she and Dorrie spent a night together where they stayed up until 4:00am talking about Harry Potter! The ultimate betrayal.
The focus of Dorrie’s story is her learning to respect herself with girls as much as she wants her best friend to respect herself with boys. But that doesn’t mean her love story doesn’t get some magical moments. I promise you at least one steamy make out… maybe two if you really believe in the Christmas spirit.
The inclusion of a queer romance in a film like this is exciting enough on its own. But what makes it all the more exciting is both Hewson and Akana are queer in real life! Hewson is non-binary and gay and Akana is bisexual. They’re both so good in their roles, bringing their charm and authenticity. Most mainstream movies continue to cast straight actors in queer parts, so this casting in the most mainstream genre is pretty revolutionary.
And you won’t have to slog through bad straight romances to get to these scenes. The whole movie is a delight! Isabela Moner and Shameik Moore’s romance in particular stands out due to their performances and their chemistry and the storyline’s intense emotions. Also Kiernan Shipka plays a tomboy named The Duke who is described as one of the guys. My phone autocorrected her name to The Dyke, but I guess we can’t get greedy here.
Joan Cusack’s snow plow driver acts as the narrator and she opens with a wonderfully corny monologue. “Snow has the power to bring us together,” she says. “And sometimes, just for a moment, and especially on Christmas Eve, that’s exactly what we need.” Christmas and its movies have this power too. And what a gift that for once queer women and non-binary people are invited to the holiday party.