Emilia Clarke is the shining star of this film. Honestly, she carries it with a lighthearted yet cynical sense of humor. Emma Thompson and Michelle Yeoh add their own flair to the cast (and Thompson to co-writing the script), but it’s Clarke who keeps your interest.
The story is simple. Clarke’s character had a medical emergency the previous year that nearly ended her life. It sent her into a tail spin leaving her to grapple with life after almost dying. She drinks. She eats unhealthy food. She has a long string of one night stands. She is, for lack of a better word, a hot mess.
Enter Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians). He pops into the open-year-round Christmas store where Clarke works. Sparks fly even when the protagonist doesn’t want them to. He appears at odd times and mysteriously doesn’t have a cell phone, but he volunteers at a homeless shelter so we let these things slide.
Clarke’s character finds new meaning through helping at the homeless shelter. The film even hits on how immigrants are treated in today’s society (the main characters family immigrated from Yugoslavia when she was a child) and what it is like to be lesbian in a religious family (the main characters sister hides her relationship with her girlfriend). The film only hits on them sparingly, but it does add a little depth to the film that helps keep it from feeling like it belongs on the Hallmark channel.
In case you haven’t been on the internet since the film was released, there is a twist. It’s an obvious one if you are paying attention to the film or have ever listened to the lyrics to the films namesake song ‘Last Christmas’. I won’t spoil it for you here. I’ve heard that some people wanted a happier Hollywood ending, but I think those people should stick with their Hallmark channel movies if that is what they want.
If you liked holiday films like ‘The Family Stone’ (one of my faves), you will like ‘Last Christmas’. Worth the price of a matinee ticket if you happen to be near a theater on a snowy afternoon. And if you don’t come back to my blog before next week, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!