Last Christmas: Film Review

Some of the reviews of Last Christmas have been brutally harsh and scathing and I think it’s a bit unfair. The film might be average and quite forgettable but it’s really not that bad.

Emilia Clarke stars as Kate, a wannabe West End performer currently working full-time in a Christmas shop in London run by a lady named Santa (Michelle Yeoh). Kate doesn’t care about anything – her health, her dignity, her family and friends – and spends her nights getting drunk, sleeping around and dragging her suitcase around to different friend’s houses. She starts to re-evaluate her lifestyle when she meets a mysterious stranger named Tom (Henry Golding).

When the first trailer was released months ago, people on Twitter began speculating about the plot and made guesses about a twist and sadly these were correct. If you know it, you can see it coming and it’s very predictable but it will be interesting to see if it’s a surprise for those who haven’t had it spoiled. I won’t do that but you can easily figure it out if you know the lyrics to Wham’s Last Christmas, the inspiration for the film.

I didn’t watch Game of Thrones so I’m not super familiar with Clarke and I found her to be immensely charming. She was a likeable lead and you wanted her to figure her life out. She also had a lovely singing voice and I enjoyed watching her use it, particularly during the heartwarming Christmas concert at the end. Golding does his best to inject personality into Tom and give him some quirks but there’s not much you can do with a handsome straight-laced do-gooder. He did look very handsome though.

The standouts in the supporting cast were Yeoh as Kate’s boss – she has a funny yet weird romance plot of her own – Lydia Leonard as her sister Marta, with whom she has a difficult relationship, and Ritu Arya as her hilarious pregnant friend Jenna (wanted more of her). Emma Thompson, who also co-wrote the script, portrays Kate’s tough, depressive mother Petra. I was surprised that Paul Feig and co decided to make the family come from Yugoslavia – watching Thompson put on a thick Eastern European accent for her character felt quite outdated and the only real reason for that was so they could get in some unexpected statements about Brexit and immigration.

The film tries to take on way too many themes when it should have focused on nailing the central one, it’s quite derivative of another film – which I won’t name otherwise it’ll give the game away – and the dialogue was cringe and overly sentimental in places but I can’t deny that it made me laugh and smile. It also really makes Christmas in London look lovely, it uses some wonderful George Michael and Wham! songs, and delivers a message about helping others that’s definitely in keeping with the late singer’s charity work. A brief cameo from someone close to him also brought a tear to my eye.

Last Christmas isn’t amazing, in fact, it’s quite cheesy and forgettable, but I don’t understand why it’s being hated so savagely. It’s a cute little Christmas rom-com (is it a rom-com though? Hmmm… maybe not) and I enjoyed it. However, it didn’t give me that festive feeling so it isn’t going to replace my Christmas classics, Home Alone and The Holiday.

In cinemas Friday 15th November 

Rating: 3/5

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