Last Christmas starts off beautifully, introducing the audience to my favorite three things: British accents, Christmas spirit, and a hot mess protagonist. Kate (Emilia Clarke) goes from singing in church as a child to singing in bars in the present. Or rather, singing a song she put on repeat in a bar to her rapidly emptying beer. Kate works at a Christmas shop in a full elf costume during the day, and bounces between bars and beds at night. It is seldom clear where her story is going, and her actions make it difficult to sympathize with her when she is kicked off her friends’ couches time and time again. However, audience members still find themselves rooting for her. Perhaps it is because she recognizes her issues, early on stating, “why is my life so sh*t” with mascara raccoon eyes and fleeing from another woman’s shower.
Henry Golding has seemingly come out of nowhere in the acting world and hit the box office hard with Crazy Rich Asians and A Simple Favor. As the love interest in this story, Tom, he adds the romance but balances keeping the focus of the film on Kate. Kate’s family also walks this line well, adding humor to the film without taking center stage. As the film progresses, Tom helps Kate open up about how she ended up where she is and gives her a way to find meaning in her life again.
The ending is conflicting. It’s not a new idea, but it is jaw dropping and then I felt anger bubbling up inside, which is not exactly how you want to feel leaving a Christmas movie. Claire shares, “I am very frustrated. I hate when movies do that!” A second movie goer, Kelly, sweeps past the big reveal and considers the movie as a whole, “it has a good message. It makes you happy when you help other people.” Mixed reviews about the ending should not discourage anyone from seeing it, the journey itself is pretty darn funny. Whether you are ready for “the season” or wagging your finger until Thanksgiving has wrapped up, this is surely just the beginning for Christmas movies in 2019.
Movie times: click here
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
Run Time: 1 hour and 42 minutes
Directors: Paul Feig
Actors: Emilia Clarke, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson, Henry Golding
Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and sexual content