Premiered November 8, 2019.
Kate (Emilia Clarke) is going through a rough patch as Christmas approaches. She has no real place to live, has flopped in her latest singing audition and has a complicated relationship with her immigrant family. The only stable part of her life is her job. Kate works as an elf in a Christmas shop. Her boss “Santa” (Michelle Yeoh) likes her “elf,” but feels Kate’s work ethic has faltered ever since she recovered from a health crisis the previous Christmas.
Kate and Tom spend lots of time together, exploring bits of London that she never knew existed. When she visits a homeless shelter where Tom volunteers, Kate realizes she can fund raise for the shelter by singing Christmas songs in the street for money. She learns that doing good things for others makes her feel much better about life.
Will Kate manage to patch things up with the family and friends she has alienated? Will she find happiness with Tom? You’ll have to go see this movie which was written by Emma Thompson and features the music of George Michael to find out.
J.A. Morris says:
Last Christmas is a good movie that features a great cast. Emilia Clark and Henry Golding are very likable actors and I found myself rooting for them right away. Since Kate works in a Christmas specialty store, we get a lot more holiday decorations and imagery than you see in most Christmas films. Emma Thompson is one of the greatest actresses of all time and she's great here as Kate's mother Petra.
Michelle Yeoh is almost perfect playing the "good boss" role. You might say that Yeoh's Santa character is a sort of "second mother" to Kate.
London is a great city and director Paul Feig does a nice job showing it off. While the city is lit up for Christmas, the London of Last Christmas isn't a fairy tale version of the city, and the script isn't afraid to comment on current events in the UK (my co-blogger will say more about this).
I'll admit that I've never been a fan of the Wham! song that gave the film its title. However, Clarke performs a version of "Last Christmas" that's a bit more up tempo and I liked it better than the original (and most other cover versions I can think of). The soundtrack features "Last Christmas" and about a dozen other George Michael/Wham! songs. So you'll probably like this film more if you're a George Michael fan.
I'm reluctant to say too much because this movie is still in current release and I don't want to spoil the story. So I'll just say that Last Christmas is recommended and I encourage fans of Christmas films to see it while it's playing on big screens. George Michael fans will probably like it more than others.
J.A. Morris' rating:
3 candy canes.
Last Christmas is an enjoyable holiday trifle with a lot of heart. Christmas movies do have a tendency to be pretty formulaic, but this is a well-told holiday tale with a twist, that I don't want to spoil. Credit is due to Emma Thompson for crafting a touching story.
As J.A. Morris says, the cast is top-notch and the leads are appealing and likeable.
Plus, it's always nice to see bits of London done up for the holidays. We see a fair amount of Oxford Street as well as Covent Garden (where "Santa's" Christmas shop is located) and bits of Camden Market (I think) and Marylebone.
It's not all fairy lights and tinsel though, and I appreciated the embedded message regarding Brexit- related xenophobia that is directly addressed in a couple of scenes and more subtly addressed by showing that London is (and has always been) a multicultural city via good casting choices.
One's mileage may vary in terms of the soundtrack -- I quite like George Michael's oeuvre in general, but have never particularly been a fan of the title song -- but it's well used in service of the story and the uptempo version of "Last Christmas" sung by Kate and friends made me like the song a little better.
Overall, Last Christmas is a very enjoyable holiday confection and is well worth a visit to the cinema this season if one is so inclined!
Three and a half candy canes