“Last Christmas”, based on the 1984 Wham! song of the same name, is a sweeter than a sugar cookie romance. It is like that great gift from under the tree. It’s adorable, funny, light-hearted and more than pleasantly surprising. I absolutely adored every minute of it. Written by actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson, with an effortlessly charming, adorably camera-friendly Emilia Clarke in the lead role. Director Paul Feig gives us one of the best Christmas and standard rom-coms in the last few years. Sit back and enjoy (anytime of the year), a sweet and magical film that wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve that echoes, some of the most classic holiday romances.
Christmas movies have become such a beloved genre of movies. They don’t just come and go, they tend to last forever, especially the classics. These films are played in homes each year while your decorating the tree, opening presents or just want a quiet night at home by the fire. For me it’s been a tradition that every Christmas I watch one Christmas themed movie every day for the entire month.
While it was released in theaters three months ago, I’ve finally gotten to watch the latest Christmas entry “Last Christmas”. Director Paul Feig of “Bridesmaids”, “Spy”, “The Heat” and the all female “Ghostbusters”. Feig’s Christmas romance is a sweeter than a sugar cookie romance that has the ingredients to be a holiday favorite that can be watched every year during your Christmas or Valentines Day movie marathon.
“Last Christmas” is like that great gift just waiting under the tree. It’s adorable, funny, light-hearted and more than pleasantly surprising. I absolutely adored every minute of it.
“Last Christmas” stars the super adorable Emilia Clarke as Kate, a young woman living in England who had to flee the country of Yugoslavia with her family to stay safe from a certain war. She was not in good health as a child but as we find is doing much better in the present-day film’s narrative.
Late works at a Christmas store by day and auditions for theatrical productions at night. She struggles to succeed, and suffers from being accident prone which causes her to jump from one friends couch to another. Kate is in a quest to get herself and her life settled, where she meets the quirky light-hearted Tom Webster, played by “Crazy Rich Asians” Henry Golding.
“Last Christmas” is the creation by actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”), who also turns in a funny supporting performance. Thompson knows her romantic comedies and her script shows it, as she hits all the usual typical beats of the genre. It’s all powered by the effortlessly charming, adorably camera-friendly Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”). Clarke works those beautiful expressive eyebrows and graces us with her killer smile, but she’s also effective at conveying Kate’s state of depression and self loathing.
Clarke completely has what it takes to be a future romantic comedy queen and she is deserving of more film roles. When you watch Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding walking the beautifully lit London streets, you feel as if you’ve landed in romantic comedy heaven. The interactions between Clarke and Golding are fun, playful and sincerely sweet. They share so many moments of genuine heartfelt conversations. The Kate and Tom romance is a major element, but the movie isn’t completely their story; it’s Kate’s story.
“Last Christmas” is inspired by the 1984 George Michael led Wham, song of the same name. This lets the films soundtrack to be filled with fourteen tracks of soulful sounds by the late great George Michael. From the song that gives the movie its title to the perfectly timed placement of songs like: “Freedom,” “Faith,” “Heal the Pain,” “One More Try,” “Waiting For The Day” and “Praying for Time.”
Versatile and prolific director Paul Feig takes a break from his darker comedy side, for a funny, sweet-hearted tone that he makes for a winning film. There are amazing surprises, heartfelt interactions, and profoundly sincere real moments.
“Last Christmas” is one of the best Christmas and standard rom-coms in the last few years. Sit back and enjoy (anytime of the year), a sweet and magical film that wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve that echoes, some of the most classic holiday romances. “Last Christmas” is a real gift that I’m so glad to have opened and discovered.
GRADE: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)