Last Christmas is directed by Paul Feig and it is a holiday rom-com centered around the song Last Christmas by George Michael. The movie revolves around Kate, a woman who has no interest in getting her life together, that is until she meets the optimistic and odd Tom who helps her to ‘look up’. The movie stars Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson and Michelle Yeoh.
If you had to ask me what my favourite Christmas song is, the answer is Last Christmas. I have so many memories tied to that song from when I was little decorating the tree with my mom and baking sweets. Whenever that jolly synth starts, I know that it’s time for the holidays. The idea of taking a song and turning it into a movie is actually very smart. I love the trailer and I love the talent attached. I think Paul Feig doesn’t get enough credit for making as many classics as he has. I think Emilia Clarke is one of the purest human beings to walk this Earth and Henry Golding’s smile and charm is enough to make anyone swoon. When the trailer came out, I probably watched it ten times in a week. I absolutely love Christmas movies, they’re cheesy, romantic, hopeful and really make you appreciate being alive so having another potential classic was exciting. Now having come out of the movie, I can say that the movie was all of those things but not necessarily throughout.
Last Christmas gives us one of the year’s most memorable couples in a movie which doesn’t put it’s focus on romance as much as it does on kindness and looking after one another. That being said, this movie might be one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen, the jokes are incredibly random, there are entire sub-plots which come out of nowhere and in it’s first two acts, it’s held in a very awkward state. My audience was quieter than the one I had for A Quiet Place. It was weird, no one had any snacks or drinks, it was honestly bizarre as I was actually enjoying some of the jokes and I felt bad cause I kept munching on my popcorn. It’s not that the first two acts are bad, they aren’t but there isn’t anything cohesive about the way it’s held. The humour comes as off as awkward most of the time and honestly the movie is downright sad for a good chunk of the runtime. There was a sub-plot regarding brexit and racism in modern England which I thought would be an interesting sub-plot but it’s thrown away with a joke and a brief scene. The topic it tried to discuss was relatively big for the few scenes it was featured in, that being said the movie’s heart was in the right place, in fact that can be said for the entire movie.
Without a doubt, the heart of this movie goes to Emilia Clarke’s Kate who is incredibly relatable. We all go through a time where we feel like a mess and life is not going great even though it can be changed with a small act of optimism but it’s that optimism which can make you vulnerable to falling again. Kate is that and her arc is emotionally satisfying. Clarke brings a lot of charm and she handles the emotional scenes very well but I would’ve loved if the script was funnier so that the jokes she made landed. Henry Golding’s Tom is wonderfully weird and ridiculously charming. He and Clarke have great chemistry and as I said they bring us an instantly iconic pair. The big twist of the movie was predictable in some shape or form in my head but it’s such a great twist that I didn’t care. However I don’t think it was executed as well as it should’ve been, there is this huge grey area which is never explained and I don’t think it had the emotional pull to it that it should’ve had. This being said, the twist was effective and smart enough to work.
My biggest issue with this movie is it’s lack of atmosphere. One of the many joys of watching a Christmas movie is getting to live in the cozy and warm atmosphere that the holidays bring with them. For it’s first two acts, Last Christmas seems to think that if you shove enough Christmas decorations or just show people walking down a beautifully lit street that it would replace atmosphere. It does not. I think it all goes down to how distant and awkward the characters are in those first two acts. A woman literally stood up and left. Not to mention the missed opportunity of infusing the musical score with the song Last Christmas. You might be thinking that since I didn’t like the first two acts all that much, what makes the third act great? Well, in the third act, the movie owns being a cheesy rom-com with feel-good moments and it’s easily the best part of the movie. I was smiling and laughing constantly. I give Christmas movies a pass on certain aspects like writing, pacing and logic but this movie took itself a bit too seriously at first.
Overall Last Christmas may not captivate you immediately but when it does, it does so with an infectious energy. The stars Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding make the awkward first two acts worth watching simply because of their undeniable chemistry. I can definitely see this becoming a future Christmas classic for some people. Despite it’s lacking start, Last Christmas revs up those essential holiday movie ingredients bringing home a feel-good third act which will leave you with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart which at is the movie’s purpose.