I couldn’t tell you why I wanted to see this movie. No really, I have no idea. I hate rom coms, I don’t go for those sappy Hallmark movies, and it’s still too early for Christmas anyways. I like Emilia Clarke, but I wouldn’t blindly follow her. Henry Golding’s kinda hot, but I’ve skipped many rom coms with gorgeous leading men. I like George Michael, but only know the same handful of songs everyone else does. So no really, why did I feel like I needed to see this movie?
Emilia Clarke is the anti-ingenue. She’s cynical and crass and has nothing in order in her life, couch surfing among the few friends she has left and just barely keeping her job at a Christmas shop. Then she meets Henry Golding, who tries to get her to turn her life around and maybe practice a little self care, just in time for Christmas.
This movie is far from perfect. It’s cheesy and contrived, and while it thinks its really clever, its more borderline dumb than anything else. And yet, it made me smile pretty hard. It’s utterly watchable and the cast is perfectly charming. I even came close to tears a couple times (close okay, it didn’t actually happen because then my brain started working). Also it’s nice having a manic pixie dream boy for a change.
I have mixed feelings on how George Michael and his music were utilized. On paper, awesome idea. Behind it 100%. But in practice, it felt like he was shoehorned in. They made a point to highlight him and put his songs wherever they could (mostly using Last Christmas), but except for an “I love George Michael” and a few posters on the wall, they didn’t really make him part of the story. I feel like either they should have really gone for it (which would have been amazing) and integrated him more, or just backed off and taken out all the additional songs. This halfway method didn’t quite do it. Oh also what didn’t quite do it, it seems like Emma Thompson (who wrote this with her husband) had a lot to say about different social issues (immigration, Brexit, etc) but also didn’t really commit to any of them. They felt more like an after thought.
Speaking of Emma Thompson, she stole a few scenes as Emilia’s Mom. I wish she would have let herself steal a few more because those moments were gold. She was otherwise a mostly unlikeable character. Emilia on the other hand was a good fit for the type of comedy. More please!
Now about the twist which has already become infamous. I won’t flat out spoil it, but it might be worth skipping this paragraph if you don’t wanna know. I halfway figured it out. I had picked up on a few clues, but took it in a different direction that I got stuck on. I’m hearing lots of people figured out the full extent of the twist themselves. The twist is mostly what I was referring to when I say the film wasn’t as clever as it thought it was. The people behind me busted out laughing at the reveal. I think I let out a surprised expletive, as I was mad that while I recognized some of the tells, I still hadn’t pieced it together myself. No matter what, people are gonna be debating its merits for a very long time.
So yeah, not a good movie, but I had a lot of fun watching it. And I’ll take an enjoyable bad movie over a good movie that’s a struggle to get thru anyday.
Last Christmas – \m/ \m/ \m/