Thursday, November 7, 2019

Last Christmas - Review

For those that start the Christmas music on November 1st, Universal has your back. Last Christmas is here to continue the trend of starting the holidays way too early, with a story about a down on her luck woman who sees the benefits of kindness around Christmas thanks to a mysterious man. What a crazy, original concept for a Christmas movie right?

Kate (Emilia Clarke) stumbles around London, a bundle of bad decisions accompanied by the jangle of bells on her shoes, another irritating consequence from her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Tom (Henry Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate's barriers.

Look, it’s hard to go wrong with the pairing of Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. The two are both easy to love and infinitely charming for a multitude of reasons, and the combo of these should feasibly work on screen. For the most part, it does. But when it doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work. The two both deliver fine performances, with the right amount of humor and heart, but their relationship has no arc, no real spark to it, and thus feels like people pretending more than anything natural.
Director Paul Feig tries his best to make it unique, and the dialogue written by Emma Thompson and Bryony Kimmings has moments that are laugh out loud funny, but the collection of a weak script and no real narrative limit this film from being anything more than a light hearted Christmas movie that you’ll likely forget the day after.

For some, that’ll be okay. For the crowd that seeks out the pile of Hallmark movies with cheesy titles and basic storylines will probably love Last Christmas. It’s a film that has all the warm, feel good moments that people look for in this type of movie, even if they are terribly predictable. And yes, those predicting a twist will likely be disappointed at how truly easy it is to figure out what is actually happening throughout the film. The whole film just feels half-hearted.

Last Christmas isn’t getting coal in its stocking, but its placement on the nice list isn’t secure either. Likable leads and a few supporting characters make it watchable at the very least, but a lack of any true narrative through line or any original messaging hold it back from ascending to classic holiday movie status. Maybe basing a film around a George Michael lyric wasn’t the best idea.

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