Bridesmaids and the female Ghostbusters reboot director Paul Feig created Last Christmas in a manner that it might seem like your usual holiday saga from the wrapping – all cheerful and bright on the outer surface, hardly hiding a sentimental, gooey interior – but the fact is that you might be amazed by its goals.
The movie’s lead character Kate is a slightly broken young lady in London. She tends to isolate friends and dishearten her family with upsetting regularity. She aspires of becoming a professional singer, but she’s trapped working at a year-round Christmas store where she has to dress like a fairy. Enter Tom, an appealing, odd stranger who is as optimistic and unselfish as she is pessimistic and self-centered.
Their growing romance is set against stunning surroundings of the weeks leading up to Christmas. Candidly it’s one of the astonishing bliss of this film; the walks down the little, charming paths of Central London, the finding of secret parks somehow unseen from bare view in the heart of the town.
Fairly, there are other delights to be had too. Specifically, Emma Thompson’s big wittiness who plays Kate’s amusing immigrant mother, and Michelle Yeoh as her boss at the Christmas store who’s at the cusp of a new romance herself.
The script (co-written by Thompson) provides both actresses several moments to stand out, beating into their intelligent comedic timing. A pair of female cops whose nonstop squabbling is the cause of numerous laughs is also scene-stealers.
But the movie isn’t only content providing the warm, fluffy feels of your typical holiday film. It wants to say something about the humor of our times, and it’s not at all bashful about disclosing its politics.
The script makes space to include Brexit into its plot, to reflect on the anti-immigrant reaction creeping into the UK, and to deal with the reality of homelessness. There’s also a same-sex rapport treated with the respect it deserves.
At the core of the plot although is the story between Kate and Tom, and inevitable, her thawing from the profound detachment born beyond a health disaster she prefers not to talk about. The huge twist in the end is one you might see approaching –but it still chokes you up when it comes. The title of the movie derived from that evergreen George Michael song, is a clue.
Last Christmas may not be considered as one of the grand holiday rom-coms, but it’s an absolutely enjoyable one-time watch because it’s got an endearing assembly of actors who sensibly illuminate the screen, and because it provides a healthy dose of comedy and heart that’s tough to defend against.