2019 | starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, Michelle Yeoh| written by Emma Thompson, Bryony Kimmings | directed by Paul Feig | 1 hr 43 mins |
Kate (Emilia Clarke) is a young woman living day to day from one life disaster to the next. Eventually finding herself with nowhere to live, running out of friends and working in a all-year-round Christmas shop as an elf assistant, Kate has a somewhat chance encounter with the ridiculously enchanting Tom (Golding), who begins to demonstrate to Kate what life is really all about.
The film is definitely not short of a few giggles and laughs, but considering the presence of immense writing talent of Emma Thompson alongside Paul Feig, who brought us the likes of brilliant comedies Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy, in the directors chair, it never succeeds in any side-splitting moments. Being set against a post-Brexit backdrop, there is also a somewhat jarring tonal shift partway through, with the film becoming a kind of political statement on the current cultural climate that while not unwelcome, doesn’t seem to really to be fully committed to. And finally, it becomes pretty evident early on what is happening here plot-wise (it’s all there in the song people), we the audience are instead just left wondering how long until all will be revealed to everyone else.
Everyone in the cast is perfectly charming and likable, classic ingredients for any rom-com. Many will find a lot of time for Michelle Yeoh’s Santa as well as Emma Thompson overbearing mother figure in some scene-stealing moments. But any romantic comedy is only as good as its leads. Clarke and Golding prove that they are fertile ground for this sort of genre, even managing to add some gravitas to the films more serious moments, but for whatever reason it seems that this isn’t the right film for it all to nicely fall into place.
For those who are fans of the late George Michael, the film does provide a decent jukebox medley of hits from the great man himself to enjoy, as well as more versions of Last Christmas that you might actually care for. But asides from the film being based around the premise of that aforementioned song, the others are almost thrown in as if to say “remember this one?”, before the final version of the titular tune being used in what must be one of the cheesiest, cringe-worthy film endings of all time.
Last Christmas will almost certainly become a regular feature of many festive movie collections for years to come, however it’s a shame its never funny enough, charming enough, or indeed interesting enough to become a proper classic.