Review: Last Christmas

It wouldn’t be fair to say that I was “dragged to the theatre” for this one, because I chose of my own free will to attend the first big Christmas film of the year with my wife, who was going to see it with or without me. Honestly, I was really hoping that I could leave the theatre and start a review with “Christmas came early!” Emilia Clarke’s (Game of Thrones, Me Before You) character Kate is a step above a simple Lifetime or Hallmark film, and her on-screen chemistry with the mysterious Tom (Henry Golding, Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor) works despite the two of them spending very little time together. But the movie falls right into the “Christmas mystery” groove that so many have tread before (granted most are tv movies) which makes it a little boorish and predictable. I give Last Christmas 2 out of a possible 3 snowflakes.
Kate is an aspiring singer living in London and it isn’t going well for her. In addition to recovering from a recent “illness,” she gets kicked out by her roommate, her music career hasn’t sprouted, and she is forced to work in a Christmas shop dressed as an elf for a boss that hates her. And rightly so, she’s a terrible employee. Although her family lives nearby, her pride refuses her to stay with them (unless absolutely necessary) and she would rather mooch shelter off of friends and one-night stands. But before she can completely hit rock bottom, Kate meets do-gooder Tom. Tom rides a bike. Tom doesn’t use a cell phone. Tom volunteers at local shelters. Tom is never around? It’s romance at first sight for Kate, but Tom is seemingly more interested in helping her improve her life and make better choices than he is sleeping with her. Nevertheless, Kate pursues her mystery man and along the way learns a few lessons that soften her hardened heart and help her learn the true meaning of… Thanksgiving. She learns to be thankful for what she has. Well, and I guess she also learns to give back so it qualifies as a Christmas movie too.
Written and produced by Emma Thompson, who also plays Kate’s mother, she takes the whole “inspired by Wham! song Last Christmas” thing a bit too far. I love Emma Thompson, but I don’t need to hear George Michael’s Greatest Hits as the soundtrack for a romantic comedy. You get one, maybe two songs before I start paying less attention to the acting and filmmaking and more attention to when Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go is going to start playing (spoilers, it’s near the end…ugh). Not even Tom’s motto “Look up” could keep me completely focused on this film that has layers of unnecessary plot lines. Their family found refuge from Yugoslavia in London…to add emotional baggage? Kate’s sister is lesbian…because it allows Kate to say “my secret isn’t as big as yours”? It’s set in 2017…for fear of Brexit? (This one may actually be paying homage to George Michael, who died on Christmas day 2016…but still). And last but not least, Kate starts doing all the crazy things after her near-death illness the previous year because something just feels “wrong.” Her seemingly 180° turn in character makes the also 180° twist in story fairly obvious from early on, but her chance run-in with Tom is the real give-away. After Kate begins spreading kindness and love like a snowball rolling downhill, the movie goes head over snowshoes in holiday cheer with homeless shelter holiday specials, Christmas lights in the daytime, and random shop customer romantic side-stories. I won’t spoil things too far, but this movie doesn’t have my recommendation.
Me: Good holiday films, ‘I look for you everywhere!’ (KATE)
Last Christmas: ‘You can’t depend on me.’ (TOM)
And that pretty much sums things up! There are some good movies in theatres right now to go see. Ford v Ferrari just came out this weekend and it has great reviews, as does Jojo Rabbit which finally hit it’s wide release. I look forward to seeing those and others in the weeks to come, so come back if you’re interested in reading some thoughts or if you just wanna talk about good films. Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Review: Last Christmas

  1. Hey there.. got your invite and thanks for that. Trying to find you on twitter as well – but you have nothing on the page here to tell me your handle.. would love a follow back on my page peggyatthmovies.com as well. And look forward to reading many more of your reviews! #whoooohooooo

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