Maybe going immediately from the gayest holiday movie (Happiest Season) to the straightest holiday movie was a poor move on my behalf because let’s face it, there was no way I’d enjoy this as much as any movie starring Aubrey Plaza.
Last Christmas debuted last year in actual cinemas. (Remember those?) In the UK, you couldn’t walk past a bus or a roadside billboard without seeing an ad for it, which only made me want to see it less. So, I waited for it to become free on streaming services… and I’m glad I did. The basis for the plot revolves around Emilia Clarke as Kate; a young woman who is known for her poor decision-making. Kate recently underwent a heart transplant, and has felt a little ”off” ever since. Between working as an elf in a Christmas decorations store and attempting to audition for roles in musicals in London, she’s stuck in a rut, basically. Her life changes however when she meets the mysterious Tom (Henry Golding), who seems to show up every time she needs him most.
Thankfully, Emma Thompson is a legend and Emilia Clarke has enough charisma to carry the movie. It was actually quite nice to see Clarke having a little bit of fun instead of stripping off and burning herself to death on a pyre as in Game of Thrones. Michelle Yeoh also brings some excellent comedy to a movie that could otherwise feel a bit wooden. Plus no one can argue against a Patti LuPone cameo. So all is not lost on the casting front at the very least.
It’s all very feel good, Christmassy, thematically sound etc etc, but the plot is really quite sluggish. Most of the first half is a character study and some backstory into our protagonist, which is good, but nothing exactly memorable or special unfortunately. Again, the only thing that will drag your ass through the first act is Emilia Clarke, so Paul Feig was extremely fortunate that she was available.
Unlike Christmas on the Square, I had a pre-conceived notion that this was going to be a full-on musical with over the top Wham songs as it’s musical numbers, but I’m really glad it wasn’t. However, the whole rom-com side of things is an utter snooze and the only thing that makes this better than a Hallmark movie is an all-star cast. Sad.
It’s very cute and sometimes funny, but I won’t remember it next week. Forgettable Christmas fodder.
Last Christmas is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.
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