An irresponsible young woman, dealing with a whole slew of life problems, will meet a stranger who will change her life in so many ways. Starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, Last Christmas is one of those perfect holiday films that’ll have you laughing, smiling, and crying the whole way through.
After falling extremely ill the year prior, Kate (Emilia Clarke) has lost most of her motivation and sense of responsibility. She avoids her family and finds herself crashing at various friends’ flats until they grow tired of her antics. The only person who puts up with her is her boss Santa (Michelle Yeoh), who employs Kate at her year-round Christmas shop. But even Santa is losing her patience with the unreliable Kate.
As Kate begins to run out of favors from loved ones, she meets Tom (Henry Golding), a charismatic bike carrier who charms her in every way. While he’s a bit of a dreamboat, he certainly doesn’t shy away from encouraging her to fix the problems in her life. Whether it’s reconnecting with her overbearing mother, taking better care of herself, or just taking a moment to “look up” — Tom has seemingly come into Kate’s life at a crucial moment. It doesn’t take long for Kate to fall hard for him, and Tom to fall for her.
Directed by Paul Feig, Last Christmas can easily become a heartwarming Christmas classic. Clarke’s charm radiates from the screen. Even when she portrays a slightly unlikable character, you fall in love with her. You can also feel Clarke’s relation to her character, as she also suffered a near-death health crisis, around the same age. While Clarke’s path was very different than her on-screen counterpart, her experience just brings a deeper level of realism to the character’s journey and makes it even more emotional.
But it’s not all sadness, there is a romance at the heart of it. With the beauty of London’s twinkling lights as a backdrop, the romance bit would be hard to avoid. Clarke and Golding’s chemistry is so joyous and adds to the magic of the film. Every time they are together, you can feel a sense of happiness and peace. I’m clearly not attached to their characters at all!
While it is a “romantic comedy”, it avoids some of the Hallmark-style cheesiness and really delivers with its comedy. Written by Bryony Kimmings and Emma Thompson, who also plays the role of Kate’s mother, this film will have you rolling with laughter, especially Thompson. The comedic bits were perhaps my favorite, from the entire cast, including small supporting characters. So if you’re trying to convince that friend or partner who despises the genre, promise them they’ll have a good time with this one.
Another great character, so to speak, is the stellar soundtrack. Obviously, the title is a nod to the Wham! hit “Last Christmas”, which is heavily featured in the trailers as well. The entire film though is housed with classic George Michael songs, as well as some others you may be unfamiliar with. The tunes will get stuck in your head, but who could complain about that?
Its only fault is its fairly predictable plots — you may have guessed how the third Its real fault is its fairly predictable plot — you may have easily guessed the third act by just watching the trailer. While I wish they would have gone another route to avoid that being an easy critique, I don’t think it all weakens the enjoyment or message of the film.
This is one of those films that you can enjoy with your family, on a night out with friends, or with a partner, and just enjoy that cozy holiday spirit — and one you can enjoy year after year to come.
Last Christmas hits theaters November 8