LAST CHRISTMAS – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Last Christmas is a rom-com with a twist. I can’t tell you what that twist is because that would be a spoiler, and I actually want you to enjoy this silly little film.
The movie revolves around Kate (Emilia Clarke), Katarina to her immigrant family. Kate is a hot mess. She’s a struggling singer/actress whose day job is as an elf retail clerk at a Christmas shop in 2017 London. This is important because it is set up the year after George Michael passes away. The year after, the United Kingdom decided to vote for Brexit by a slim margin. And the year after, Kate got a heart transplant. Since receiving the operation and getting well, she has been living a quasi-homeless kind of life. Her nights are spent partying, drinking hard, and picking up the occasional stranger, so she has a place to stay that night. She’s a starving artist between places to live whose pride keeps her from returning to her parent’s house, so she spends a lot of nights in the freezing cold trying not to go home.
On those cold nights out, Kate keeps running into Tom (Henry Golding), a gorgeous man on a bicycle. Tom befriends Kate and dances around her as he shows off the charming pockets of London she’s never seen before. “Look Up” is Toms catchphrase when twirling about and teaching Kate to take notice of the hidden beauty most people walk by. He also volunteers at a homeless shelter at night. But other than that Kate knows very little about our mysterious Tom. Eventually, Kate even starts helping out at the shelter in order to find him on the nights he goes missing.
This is a romantic movie, so of course, Kate starts falling for Tom and shares with him how she’s felt broken since her heart transplant. Tom is falling for Kate as well but keeps his distance. He stays determined to help her become a better version of herself. Encouraging her to open up to her overbearing Yugoslavian family. Especially her mother, Petra (Emma Thompson), who took such good care of her when she was ill. As Kate stops wallowing in her misery and actually helping others, she begins to change. She even helps out her boss at the shop whom she calls Santa (Michelle Yeoh) find romance with one of their customers who loves Christmas as much as her boss does.
Will Kate be able to really change into the caring person Tom knows she can be? Will they get together in the end? You will just have to see the movie to find out.
One of the best things about Last Christmas, actually, is the way it portrays London for the big screen. It shows it as a city full of striving immigrants and a metropolis with dismal class inequality. Kate herself is the daughter of Yugoslavian refugees, and her boss is a Christmas-loving Chinese Brit. The movie is just the right amount of pro-Christmas, pro-immigrant, anti-Brexit propaganda we might need right now. It’s also fun to see all the famous people from Sue Perkins, and Patti LuPone to Rob Delaney in tiny bit parts throughout the film. I’m guessing they’re all friends of the films’ co-writer/producer/actress Emma Thompson. Why else would all these stars take such tiny roles? It makes it fun to watch and see another favorite actor pop up in the film.
Last Christmas is not a true rom-com in the sense of the formulaic “Girl Meets Boy” tradition. In fact, I think it’s more of a Christmas story film along the lines of It’s a Wonderful Life instead. All I know is that you feel good after you’ve seen it, and you’re reminded of how excellent George Michael’s music was.
I give Last Christmas a B rating. It’s a fun way to get in the holiday spirit.
Directed by: Paul Feig
Written by: Emma Thompson, Greg Wise, Bryony Kimmings
Selig Rating B
Running Time 1hr 42min
Romantic Comedy / Drama
Wide Release November 8th
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Emma Thompson, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Lydia Leonard
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.