REVIEW: “Last Christmas” fails to move audience despite effort

Kate (Emilia Clarke) joins Tom (Henry Golding) as he admires birds just before mother nature has an unfortunate calling.

By Julie Santiago

“Last Christmas” is a good movie that brings unique ideas to the romantic-comedy genre, but it doesn’t justify paying to see it in theaters. Viewers should wait to stream it with family during the next holiday season instead. 

As the title suggests, the movie is inspired by the George Michael holiday song “Last Christmas.” 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Michael even played a small part in influencing the script, making suggestions to the story before his death in 2016. The script had been in the works for almost a decade until it was, unfortunately, put on pause for a few years until recently. 

Notable stars, Emilia Clarke from “Game of Thrones” and Henry Golding from “Crazy Rich Asians” play Kate and Tom, an unlikely couple in the movie. Kate is a 27-year-old Londoner, former Yugoslavian refugee and a recent heart transplant recipient.

Kate works at a quirky Christmas shop and spends much of her free time drinking with random men she meets at bars. Not much is known about Tom except that he volunteers at a shelter. He stays mysterious for much of the movie. 

Kate is a mess, often making poor dietary choices and is even, at one point, homeless, until she meets Tom. This isn’t a typical romantic-comedy. Tom does not save Kate, but instead helps guide her on a journey to self-love without depending on anyone for her own happiness.

This movie lightly touches on ideas of forming healthy relationships with significant others, friends, family and yourself. A subject uncommon to the romantic-comedy genre. There are also some funny and warm moments sprinkled throughout the movie as well that make it enjoyable to watch overall. 

However, “Last Christmas” feels like a cute Christmas Hallmark movie meets “The Sixth Sense,” yet it sadly falls short of  M. Night Shyamalan’s film. The movie’s plot twist has created a lot of negative buzz due to its poor execution.

Much of the film is pleasant up until the last act, which felt forced. Writers also made an effort to touch on Brexit and its xenophobia. In the movie, Kate’s real name is Katarina but she is in denial about her heritage until the end.

It’s unfortunate this wasn’t shown more since this seems like a lost opportunity for her character development. Still, fans of Emilia Clarke might be able to overlook or accept the confusing ending. “Last Christmas” is now in theaters. 

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