‘Last Christmas’ relies too heavily on cast charisma, lacks in substance

January 13, 2020 — by Andrew Lee

While the film’s lead actors burst with charm, it’s not enough to carry the weight of a forgettable and lackluster plot.

“Last Christmas,” the instantly recognizable 1984 holiday pop song by Wham!, is an undeniable Christmas classic. The 2019 British romantic comedy “Last Christmas,” however, is not. 

Released on Nov. 8, “Last Christmas” follows Kate, a lonely alcoholic who works as an elf at an all-year-round Christmas decoration shop in London. Kate’s somewhat monotonous, frustrating life suddenly changes when a handsome young man named Tom shows up one day at the shop. The holiday season nears, and Kate falls into a classic case of yuletide romance.

Kate, played by famed “Game of Thrones” actress Emilia Clarke, and Tom, portrayed by “Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding, deliver charismatic performances. However, the film’s cliché and unoriginal story is more than enough to diminish the chemistry of the two performers on-screen. 

The film does try to incorporate a large twist at the end, which doesn’t do much to compensate for the lack of substance in the plot. The twist results in a confusingly unsatisfying ending to the film and feels like it came out of nowhere. 

As for the title of the film, the connection between Kate and the song “Last Christmas” is never explored. The song performed by George Michael is included in the film’s soundtrack and is played during the movie, but feels inappropriate and out of place. The film lacks association with the song — whether it be through plot or theme — and in this way feels like a disservice to Michael’s performance. 

In short, the film is stale. It’s a classic example of a holiday Hallmark movie. If you feel a little more cheery after watching it, the movie has basically done its job. 

If you’re looking for a satisfying, heartfelt film to watch this upcoming winter break, I would recommend sticking to the forever promising “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” or even “The Polar Express.” While the quality of acting and performances from the lead actors are more than competent, “Last Christmas” fails in delivering a cohesive, worthwhile plot.

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