REVIEW: Last Christmas

This refreshing festive film is certainly one of the most poignant and touching films to be released near Christmas in recent years.

Inspired by George Michael’s famous and beloved Christmas song, Last Christmas is a surprisingly touching and increasingly charming film that really reflects what is going on in today’s society.

Emilia Clarke plays Kate – a character who always seems to manage to get herself into trouble and is distinctly lost about the direction that her life is taking until she meets Tom. With his help she begins to pick up the pieces of her life in the wake of recovering from a serious illness and dealing with her mixed relationship with her family.

While it is billed as a romantic comedy, Emma Thompson and Greg Wise’s original story has much more depth than a typical romantic comedy to the point that it feels more like a light hearted and poignant drama. It contains references to the uncertainty of Brexit (as highlighted by Emma Thompson’s character Petra’s concerns) and homelessness that reflect the real concerns of real people, making it feel completely relatable.

But it has to be said there are some issues with the screenplay (written by Thompson and Bryony Kimmings) that while the story is heartwarming, there are times when issues could have been explored in a bit more depth and a couple of plot holes that could have been covered better. However, this being said it is easy to enjoy seeing a woman taking control of her life once again with the (minimal) help from a man and an unexpected twist that hits the emotions effectively.

Paul Feig’s film really captures the sincerity and bittersweetness of the story, highlighting the various relationships between characters effectively, while showing London at its sparkling best. There are times when the editing feels a bit sharp and scenes don’t feel as though they come to a natural conclusion but this is a minor complaint.

Elsewhere, although the music of George Michael is featured heavily as was expected, the way in which it is used never overpowers sentiment of the story. But it is used effectively – particularly when Kate performs ‘Last Christmas’ and offers a whole new interpretation of the lyrics which is wonderfully moving to listen to.

The film also features some lovely performances. Emma Thompson as Petra and Michelle Yeoh as Kate’s boss at the Christmas shop offer delightfully sharp and witty performances that provide some of the best comical moments in the film. Elsewhere, Emilia Clarke captures Kate’s vulnerability and confusion about her life beautifully captured when she tells Tom about her illness and Henry Golding’s performance as Tom is nicely understated but charming.

Overall, Last Christmas offers audiences something refreshingly different to the festive season and is well worth a watch.

By Emma Clarendon

Last Christmas is out now in cinemas.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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