Let’s start positive. Emilia Clarke is fantastic as Kate. She has a typical Scroogey character arc, and her change is adorable and full of Christmas cheer as she deals with her family and a homeless shelter subplot. For the most part, the rest of the cast is good, with rarely a misstep in heart and humor. Emma Thompson puts on a heavy Yugoslavian accent, which grows on us. Henry Golding is a little annoying at the start with his constant dance moves while he walks but then tempers it at the end. Their romance works, considering how quick it takes for them to warm up.
The biggest problem with Last Christmas is the ending, which I can’t say anything about. Damn, those twists. All I can say is the conclusion is significant and integral to the overall story. It doesn’t work and therefore ruins the entire movie. It just doesn’t earn its ending. We can talk about moments that lead up to it and what the characters do to build to the conclusion, which may work on paper, but in the final execution, it falls far short of the mark. Once you see it, you’ll know what I mean.
“There’s a lot of silliness that will warm the hearts of Rom-Com fans.”
As a Christmas movie, Last Christmas does a lot of box-checking. First, it’s sappy and sweet, which is a requirement for Christmas comedies. As Santa, Michelle Yeoh is terrific (although her performance is a little rough upfront), and her transformation to a giddy schoolgirl is the best of the sub-plot sappiness. Some other feel-good sub-plots include sister Marta’s girlfriend revelation to her family, a homeless shelter benefit concert, and a racist rant on a bus targeting those people “who don’t speak our language.”
There’s a lot of silliness that will warm the hearts of Rom-Com fans. The silliness at least is high brow with Paul Feig at the helm and Emma Thompson part of the writing team. The big one is the way the song Last Christmas is woven throughout the film and is even snuck into dialogue. Warning: based on how cynical you are, your eyes may roll. I wish I could say more about the ending. Feig tries to go for a home run and tell a Christmas story with an atypical ending. Sadly, the ending will be the reason the film will receive a lukewarm reception for what could have been an above-average Christmas story.
"…the song Last Christmas is woven throughout the film..."