Director: Paul Feig
Stars: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson
Released: 15th November 2019 (UK)
Using the songs of George Michael and Wham as loose inspiration for a plot written by Emma Thompson amongst others, Last Christmas tries to do what so many films have done before it – become a holiday classic. Yet it feels stagnant, hollow and not-at-all relatable.
Struggling with self-loathing and a lack of motivation following a long illness, a wannabe singer-turned-elf Kate (Emilia Clarke) finds comfort in the company of Tom (Golding) a charming stranger who teaches her to love herself again after a chance encounter outside the Christmas shop where Kate works.
Despite the talent on display, Feig’s usual comedic touch (Bridesmaids) and Thompson’s considerable screenwriting experience are wide of the mark from the get-go in Last Christmas. Kate and Tom’s chemistry never seems real and it’s entwined with dialogue that feels incredibly forced and robotic.
The attempts at offering more depth to the story are all too fleeting, touching on subjects like Brexit and homelessness give the impression of more substance but in reality they’re a mere sidenote to the drabness of the main plot.
The film is rescued by it’s supporting cast, Michelle Yeoh as Kate’s boss ‘Santa’ is a particular highlight, with her unconventional relationship with a German market trader arguably more interesting than that of Tom and Kate. Thompson too is enjoyable as the over-bearing, KGB-fearing mother of Kate. Though as soon becomes clear, a film can’t rely on decent performances from two supporting cast members and a selection of George Michael songs to save it.
Last Christmas feels like a huge missed opportunity as instead of trying to be something original it quickly feels like every other clichéd rom-com, this one just happens to be set around Christmas. The cast is good, the director and writers are great – yet there’s (ironically) no heart in the film.
Of course it’s by no-means as awful as some would have you believe – take a look at some of the Netflix original holiday movies for reference – but it’s predictable (even before the film starts) and it’s just a bit well… dull.
Last Christmas gave us no heart and the very next day, you’ll be putting on Love, Actually instead.