The Reel Review
Poor Kate (Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke) – broken from a mysterious event in her past, the London Christmas shop employee seems destined to a dreary existence of bad luck and poor decisions. But when the self-professed screwup meets the mysterious bike messenger Tom (Henry Golding), Kate begins a surprising, life changing journey of self discovery.
This Christmas holiday-themed dramedy has all of the ingredients to be a hit – a great cast, pop tunes (and a new song) from the late George Michael, as well as a story co-written by Emma Thompson (who also is hilarious as Kate’s overbearing mom from the former Yugoslavia) and directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, A Simple Favor). And guess what? It IS a hit, in the most corny, sappy, holiday feel good kind of way, even while tackling such weightier issues as immigration, homelessness and mental health.
Named after the popular Wham! Christmas tune, Last Christmas is all about the immensely likable, Khaleesi-free Emilia, who injects the film with loads of heart and perkiness, even when her Kate is a bit of a cad. It is especially appealing in its third act, when her character starts making amends for her chronic mistakes, proving that it’s never too late to make a fresh start in life. The crowd pleaser of a film and its message of redemption and hope would make George Michael, who died on Christmas Day 2016 at the age of 53, beam with pride.
• Wham! member Andrew Ridgeley, who remained very close friends with George Michael even after the end of their musical duo, is seen among the crowd during the film’s big finale.
• This is Emilia Clarke’s second romantic film, after 2016’s Me Before You with Sam Claflin. Henry Golding worked with director Paul Feig in 2018’s A Simple Favor and with Michelle Yeoh in 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians.
• This is Emma Thompson’s first holiday film since 2003’s Love Actually. She convinced a very reluctant Paul Feig to direct the movie only after personally sending him the script.