Last Christmas (***) pulls a few heart strings…

Last Christmas – 2019

Director Paul Feig
Screenplay Emma Thompson, Bryony Kimmings
Starring Emelia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson, Rebecca Root, Lydia Leonard

Last Christmas is the story of a Croatian immigrant (Clarke) to the UK who suffers an illness, is brought back to health. Ever since she’s been living a life of longing, bouncing from flat to flat and bad date to bad date. She works at a job she doesn’t enjoy as a helper elf at a store celebrating Christmas year round. As her life is on the verge of falling apart, in walks Tom (Golding) showing her how good life could be if she just take the reins.

For those who have seen enough movies featuring the “meet cute,” this one has several. Tom seems almost too good to be true. Thankfully, we learn soon enough there is a reason for this. The story, inspired literally by the lyrics of the George Michael / Wham Christmas classic, is fine when it sticks to romance and avoids politics. The peripheral characters are surface, but pleasant enough to show Clarke’s Kate the real meaning of life within herself.

Golding does a great job of being a dreamboat, especially when you understand where he is coming from. Clarke is amusing as a woman who thinks she is falling when really she is on the rise.

Thompson (with Kimmings) shows her knack for observing little things about people while walking the line of an artist. Her shortcomings are overcome by painting flawed but good human beings. Unless she’s making a point about Brexit, at which point she makes it clear anyone supporting it is tantamount to a hillbilly.

The soundtrack, featuring primarily George Michael and Wham songs, is hit or miss. Sometimes it hits the right tone, other times you have to just ignore the lyrics and concentrate on the tune.

Overall, the Last Christmas is a nice story that is better than most romantic films one might see on the Hallmark channel this time of year. I would not see it again, but it wasn’t wasted time.

(*** out of *****)

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