- Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh
- Emma Thompson, Bryony Kimmings
- Paul Feig
- PG (Canada), PG-13 (United States)
- Running Time
- 102 minutes
- Release Date
- November 8th, 2019
Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen as they, for the most part, serve as easy escapism. On the other hand, films connected to Christmas have also found the same kind of success. Cue Last Christmas, another Christmas-themed romantic comedy. Now if the title of the film sounds familiar, it is indeed a well-known song from George Michael. This was not a coincidence as the film takes inspiration from the song as its incredibly easy to see the parallels. Those with intimate knowledge of the song and/or those who have seen any films and/or those who have seen any of the trailers for this film can pretty much figure out how this one will go but despite this, there is still plenty of fun to be had here.
As far as romantic comedies are concerned, Last Christmas checks off all the boxes story-wise. Kate (Clarke) was an aspiring singer and a prototypical selfish screw up whose life was certainly going on the wrong direction. Things would change for her after meeting the seemingly mysterious Tom (Golding), the prototypical too-good-to-be-true perfect guy who had nothing more to him than being a contrast of Kate. Over the course of the film, he would help her change his ways with his charm and unique perspective alone but in the end, was their meeting a simple chance encounter? As mentioned, though the ultimate answer will be obvious from a mile away, this did not make it any less impactful.
While the story of Last Christmas does tread familiar ground, Kate’s arc was still a compelling one to watch as she attempted to become a better person. We first see her as a mess but she didn’t start off that way. The film would eventually reveal her tragic backstory that would make her into that person. Though Kate and Tom were fun to watch together there wasn’t much else to be had here. Meanwhile, Kate’s estranged family broke things up. They ultimately didn’t add all that much other than work as an excuse to shoehorn in some topical issues and to have Kate’s overbearing mother Petra (Emma Thompson) to deliver a few outrageously hilarious lines aided by her Eastern-European accent (it also helps when she co-wrote the script).
Last Christmas was never dull as it would see a few other more funny moments but most people will remember its soundtrack, featuring the many works of George Michael (Kate was a fan). While the story may not be new by any means, what keeps the film afloat was its charm and heart which came from the script as well as the performances of Clarke and Golding as Kate and Tom respectively. Their chemistry wasn’t quite there but each were solid with the former delivering one of her best ever performances. Clarke was so likable and relatable in a layered performance. Golding overcame his thin character on charm alone. Meanwhile, Yeoh was criminally underused as Kate’s boss Santa (there’s a story behind that name) and Thompson was a scene-stealer.
At the end of the day, Last Christmas is a fluff film that’s entertaining and unchallenging enough to pass the time and may find a second life as a Christmas-viewing option for diehard Christmas film fans.
*still courtesy of Universal Pictures*