WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Nothing seems to go right for young Kate, a frustrated Londoner who works as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. But things soon take a turn for the better when she meets Tom - a handsome charmer who seems too good to be true. As the city transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, Tom and Kate's growing attraction turns into the best gift of all - a Yuletide romance.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
When I think Christmas-themed romantic comedy, my mind automatically wanders to Love Actually, The Best Man Holiday and The Preacher’s Wife. Nowadays I even think Vanessa Hudgens because it’s that time of the year and The Knight Before Christmas and The Princess Switch just started trending on Netflix. But while Paul Feig’s Last Christmas embraces the feel-good holiday film, it doesn’t entirely fit into the genre of romantic comedy – but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
From the trailer one would assume Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding’s characters would fall hopelessly in love with each other, snow falling in the background creating a beautiful, picturesque setting, with Wham's Last Christmas as the soundtrack to their love story, but the film’s more about Emilia Clarke’s Kate finding herself.
Emilia Clarke plays Kate, and while it’s great to see her play someone other than the Mother of Dragons, her character reminds you a lot of Lou – her role in Me Before You. While she appears a lot more lost in this film, again, it’s as though she’s really trying to deliver a performance that distances her from her Game of Thrones character.
Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh also star in the film – Michelle’s performance really stands out as she takes on a more comedic role – and although I shouldn’t have to I think it’s necessary to mention that the film didn’t use the actors’ ethnicity as a plot device or exploit their backgrounds to highlight diversity – a refreshing change to a Christmas tale that would otherwise have been very white.
Emma Thompson also stars as a supporting character and co-wrote the film based on the song of the same name with husband, Greg Wise, and Bryony Kimmings. Many of the punchlines in the film didn’t quite land, and there were many moments and jokes in the film that just wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny. That being said, the story, or rather plot twist was different and unexpected, and I still got that holly jolly feeling you expect after watching a Christmas film.
So even though Michelle Yeoh’s character’s name is actually Santa and the film is bolstered with clichés, I didn’t mind all that much about the cushioning around the twist in the tale. I also quite liked that the focus was on Kate finding herself, rather than Tom (Henry Golding) finding her. So again, romantic comedy or not, I didn’t really mind.
Would I watch Last Christmas religiously every holiday season? Probably not. But it still gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling inside, like eating a mince pie, fresh out the oven.