Last Christmas Movie Review: A romantic-drama movie set against the events on the Christmas holiday, Last Christmas follows the journey of Kate played by Emilia Clarke. The movie has a different take on George Michael’s hit Last Christmas song. But is it worth your time? Read our review to find out.
Last Christmas Review
Last Christmas Review Director: Paul Feig
Last Christmas Review Cast: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, Michelle Yeoh
Last Christmas Review Stars: 3/5
Come November and I dive right into the Christmas spirit. The bells, candy canes, faux snowflakes, a miniature Christmas tree and what not find a way to my desk and kick off the countdown to Christmas Eve. George Michael’s Last Christmas doubles up as a star to my Christmas tree every year. So, when the trailer of Last Christmas starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding set against the background of the iconic Wham! song was released, I had to find my way to the theatre with the hope of soaking myself in the festive spirit. Did it enhance my Christmas spirit? Read my review below to find out.
The Paul Feig directorial Last Christmas is a romantic drama set in London and follows the tale of Kate (Emilia). Unlike your typical Christmas-themed movie where the lead is in love with the idea of love, Kate is not looking for love. Instead, she is busy running away from responsibilities while she deals with a heart condition and hopes to make it as a theatre singer. She works in a Christmas goodies store as an Elf to make ends meet. During her task of ruining her life (and causing havoc in everyone’s lives), she meets Tom (Henry). Like every love story, she falls in love with him. And like every love story, this one too has a catch. I am not spilling the beans.
While we’ve all listened to the song the Last Christmas a million times now, the song has been interpreted differently in the movie. The song is used to connect the events of two Christmases and stringing together Kate and Tom’s lives. The dots don’t connect until the climax kicks in but when they do, they leave your jaws dropped. The credit goes to Emma Thompson, Greg Wise and Bryony Kimmings. Seeing the song with a different looking glass and spinning a tale from its lyrics is impressive storytelling and screenplay writing.
Although George Michael’s song Last Christmas plays a key role in bringing the story into its last leg, the singer’s other songs such as Faith, One More Try, Freedom and Heal The Pain are effortlessly intertwined into Kate’s life, reinforcing the fact that these songs will stand timeless. The cherry on the icing is an unreleased song that drops at the end of the movie. Stay back for it is a treat to the ears. Apart from his songs, the script tactfully touches upon Brexit. Thompson, who also plays Kate’s mother, brings out the nervous, anxious and depressed woman who escaped from Yugoslavia. She draws attention to the UK’s political situation but does not dampen the Christmas spirit with it. She is so good that I felt bad for not getting to see enough of her.
But we did get to see a lot of Emilia. Breaking away from her Daenerys Targaryen image, Emilia is perfect as the messed up, irresponsible and imprudent millennial. Having seen her sorted and in power for over eight seasons of the period drama, Last Christmas brings out the other side of the actress and it is a refreshing change. There are several scenes when you can’t help but fall in love with the damaged character. However, Emilia leaves you searching for the tissues when she breaks down in the climactic scenes. She brings a lot of emotion to the table – chirpy, frustration, anger and vulnerability – which makes her a delight to watch.
In front of a fierce Kate, the heart-melting Henry blends in the romance with his portrayal as Tom. Henry wins you over with his dancing and sliding into Kate’s heart as he takes her to some of the picturesque places in London while teaching her to “look up”. However, Henry did not offer anything out-of-the-box. On the other hand, his Crazy Rich Asian co-star Michelle Yeoh presents a surprising new avatar as a Santa in the movie. No, she’s not screaming “Ho, ho, ho.” She plays a Christmas store owner where Kate works. Kate and Santa’s bond is undoubtedly one of the heartwarming highlights of Last Christmas. Their bond grows through Kate’s problems, their respective love lives and their love for Christmas. Their relationship causes a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Having said all this, the movie drags more than it should. The mystery surrounding Tom is well established in many portions of the first half. The attempt to redirect the focus on his MIA during the second half and Kate’s goes searching for him while fixing her life is good but could be crisper. In an attempt to build a shocking twist, Last Christmas gets lost and loses the charm. The movie could have been scissored down by at least fifteen minutes.
Did Last Christmas add to my Christmas spirit? Well, it sort of did. Should you watch the beautiful interpretation of Wham!’s popular Christmas song? I think it is worth a shot, even if you haven’t been a fan of the band or George Michael, listen to Last Christmas once and go for it. For Game of Thrones fans who love Emilia Clarke, this movie will give you more reasons to fall in love with her.