Saturday 16 November 2019

Film Review: Last Christmas

Paul Feig teams Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding for a festive lark through London in Last Christmas.

A Christmas movie directed by Paul Feig, written by Emma Thompson, starring Emilia Clarke and soundtracked by George Michael? Last Christmas sounds like Hollywood playing mad libs, and this odd concoction of creatives never really gels – but that's not to say it's totally without its charms.

Clarke plays Kate, a young woman struggling with depression and living out a sorry existence as a cashier at a year-round Christmas store in central London. Her singing career is going nowhere, her love life is little more than a series of one-night stands and she soon finds herself couch surfing and alienating the few friends she has left.

That is until she meets Tom (Henry Golding), a dashing gent who appears to harbour an endless energy for life. As the festive season closes in, Kate and Tom grow closer, with the former learning how to care for herself and others along the way.

In pairing Thompson's writing with Feig's direction, Last Christmas comes across as the diet version of Love Actually – it's funny, but it never quite coalesces like Curtis' classic can claim to. While Thompson's screenplay wrangles plenty of wit, it comes up short in the romance department – Clarke and Golding are a charming, attractive pair, but I never got the sense that these two were actually destined to become more than sardonic mates.

Aside from the setting and Clarke's character harbouring a love for all things Wham, the George Michael soundtrack barely registers. The thematic resonance isn't there, and the performer's 'personality' doesn't come across. The songs are just kinda there, like a radio station tuned to the one artist in the background.

The less said about a misguided subplot around Brexit, the better. Not that I disagree with Thompson outlining the inherent idiocy of Brexit – I just think it didn't mesh with all the other ideas Last Christmas has swimming around in its head.

And then we arrive at the end, which if you've seen the trailer or listened to the song 'Last Christmas', is about as surprising as night following day. I guess you could say a lot of audiences have a 'sixth sense' for this sort of thing...

The Verdict: 5.5/10

Fairly harmless holiday fare, Last Christmas sees its charismatic lead pair struggle through a rote story. Clarke and Thompson shine, but a predictable third act 'twist' undoes a lot of the residual goodwill.

Last Christmas is in cinemas across Australia now.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen it yet, but based on the trailer alone, I feel like I've already guessed it and your review kind of confirms it. lol. I still want to see it for Clarke, but I've got low expectations.



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