Last Christmas Review
Here’s our dearest Lorna’s review for the rom-com Last Christmas starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding; also stars Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson. Opens November 27!
Last Christmas – Not Your Typical Rom-Com Flick, But Now a Christmas Classic
“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, But the very next day, You gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I gave it to someone special.”
Sure, you know this catchy ear candy’s lyrics by heart and have gotten weary of hearing it every now and then during the holiday season, but who would have thought that this popular 80s hit would inspire someone to write a movie script out of it? Academy Award winner, Emma Thompson, not only stars in “Last Christmas,” she has also written its screenplay, together with her husband, Greg Wise. This movie will give you a great serving of George Michael’s hits, including a previously unreleased track of his. If you think “Last Christmas” is your typical romance comedy flick wherein you would go rooting for the characters in love from start to finish, think again. This movie is not your usual type of rom-com as it is not solidly romantic nor comedic at all. Cheesy, sure. Heartwarming, yes. This movie is comparable to that Christmas cinnamon cookie you would have a good bite off, but you know your taste buds will tell you that the chocolate chip one is so much better than it.
“Last Christmas” is a feel-good movie that tackles social issues concerning family and the community, and of people going through self discovery, gratitude, and acceptance during a period of crisis, racism, and negativity. The movie centers on the story of Kate, a 26-year-old aspiring singer, who is heavily into George Michael’s music, dreams of performing at the West End Theater, and works full time at a year-round Christmas shop in London, headed by Santa (Michelle Yeoh).
When Kate became ill the previous year, she had always been told by her friends and family that she’s so lucky to be alive, although deep inside her, she rather feels dead inside. Clearly, her character is going through depression, especially when she expressed her idea of wanting to join the 27 Club, referring to famous celebrities such as Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, who died at the age of 27. She’s been perceived by the people around her as someone who is “lazy” and “selfish,” for displaying self-destructive behavior – becoming dependent on alcohol, junk food, and casual sex so she can score a place to sleep in while avoiding her mother (Emma Thompson).
And then comes Tom (Henry Golding) – a good looking, quirky, weird guy who appears randomly outside the Christmas shop where Kate works. You see, Tom isn’t just like any other guy Kate has ever met. The weirdest thing about him is he always tells Kate to “look up,” and then he just disappears, not leaving any hint for Kate as to where he’s going or where he might be because apparently, he has no way of texting or calling her as he keeps his mobile phone inside his cabinet. Like, who the hell does that? At this point, the viewers might be already wondering what’s the real deal behind this oddball of a character. Kate eventually gets drawn to Tom’s irresistible charms and finally makes the conscious effort to pick herself up, redeem herself, and make amends to her family and friends whom she had disappointed and hurt in the past, and that’s all because she was inspired by Tom. But the question is, is Tom really the ideal guy Kate thinks he is? Will he be ready to share a future with her?
This warm-hearted movie is a gift to those who are broken and in the process of healing and recovery. Kate, who is going though depression, (and maybe, existential and identity crisis too) represents the majority of us viewers – we, who are dismissive of the people supporting us; we, who are full of self-doubt; we, who have been neglecting ourselves; we, who have been making bad choices and disassociating ourselves from the world. I think it is a good thing that viewers can relate to Kate’s character, as one might actually go through some sort of self introspection after watching the film, and be able to apply in reality the takeaways in it – reaching out and connecting to people that really matter, and improving their lives, whatever situation they might be in.
For me, watching “Last Christmas” is like unboxing a shiny Christmas present that’s fully wrapped in glittery paper, but from the looks of it, you can pretty much tell what’s actually inside it, so the element of surprise is almost nonexistent. Although the movie gives us a simple story and a predictable twist in the end, viewers would still be in for a surprise when they actually realize the depth of the movie’s storyline, and how the emotions that flowed from one scene to another, caught most of us viewers rather misty eyed. The movie’s themes would resonate with just about anyone, if only they would open their heart and mind to it. This flick has a good pace, and a few subplots that were lightly touched (anti-immigrants sentiment, relationships kept in the closet), and a diverse number of characters including a positive representation of a same-sex couple, homeless shelter people, and people of different ethnicities and disabilities.
“Last Christmas” wasn’t made to be picked apart by critics. Instead, let us not forget that it’s supposed to be an uplifting movie that’s meant to get people into a festive mood for the holidays, with the bonus of stunning Christmas visuals of London as a backdrop. One thing though that I wasn’t fully impressed with in the movie was the way in which they have strewn George Michael’s music into the film as some of these songs actually sounded kinda misplaced and not exactly appropriate for the scenes (except of course on that scene where “Praying for Time” is being played in the background. That one was just beautifully sad). I wish the music was curated better for the audience to appreciate the beauty there is in George Michael’s music. However, I still find “Last Christmas” worthy of a trip to the theater, to get yourself into a festive holiday mood together with your S.O., bestie, or your beloved family. Go ahead and check out this cute and sweet Christmas holiday offering from Perfect World Pictures. Know that every time you would watch this future Christmas classic, you would always be reminded to look up whenever you’re feeling down, because the best remedy for your heartache is you gotta have faith, faith, faith.
Last Christmas Verdict
Last Christmas is a film directed by Paul Feig, with a PG-13 rating for language and sexual content, and 81% audience rating in Rotten Tomatoes. Coming to Cinemas November 27.