[REVIEW] ‘Last Christmas’ and Why It’s So Disappointing

last christmas

As host of the Hallmarkies Podcast I feel there is an assumption I will automatically love anything billed as a ‘holiday romcom‘. Well, if you are a listener to my podcast you’d know that I dislike many films we review, as is the case with any genre a critic is partial towards. We aren’t doing our job if we blindly like everything presented to us for entertainment.

This explanation is to hopefully help quell some surprise my readers might feel that I did not like the new film from director Paul Feig, Last Christmas. Unfortunately most of the reasons I did not like it are spoilery but let’s just say it fails at both the rom and the com of a romcom (and I have issues with the holiday part as well).

Last Christmas stars Emilia Clarke as Kate, a disaster of a human who has struggled to get her life together after receiving the gift of a heart transplant the year before. She works at a year-long Christmas shop for Michelle Yeoh (who gets some of the only laughs of the film with her strange cabbage loving relationship).

Kate is simply the worst. It’s always a tough dynamic to pull off when either of our leads in a romcom are unlikable. You have to make that switch to nice person at just the right moment or we as an audience don’t want him or her to succeed in love because they are a terrible human being. Kate even outs somebody at one point which I found shocking for a movie in 2019 (and the penance wasn’t near enough for such a betrayal IMO).

last christmas2

Henry Golding is super dreamy (of course) but he leaves for long unexplained stretches, which hurt the chemistry and seems especially bizarre as the plot reveals itself. Speaking of said plot it is so groan-worthy and leaves our heroine with a very unsatisfying ending.  Without spoilers let’s just say between this and Me Before You Emilia Clarke has the strangest set of 2 romcoms imaginable.

To my surprise, I also felt focusing on George Michael music was a mistake. The problem is he only has one Christmas song so most of the soundtrack is holiday-free. Sure they are surrounded by the trappings of Christmas but they participate in none of the tropes of the genre such as picking a tree, wrapping gifts, visiting Santa, baking cookies etc. Most of what they do could be done at any time of year just with different decor. All the Christmas in the movie feels like window-dressing without the heart the holiday offers these films.

A lack of Christmas spirit and romance makes Last Christmas an unsatisfying and disappointing holiday romcom. What should have been sweet and funny ends up being groan-worthy and frustrating. Too bad but at least I’ve got 100 other Christmas movies to enjoy this holiday season (not exaggerating).

3 out of 10

frown

 

8 thoughts on “[REVIEW] ‘Last Christmas’ and Why It’s So Disappointing

  1. So basically your main issues with it are that

    1. the female lead dares to be anything other than 100% likeable like some two-dimensional movie of the week heroine
    2. there isn’t a romantic happy ending

    ?

    That’s not much of an argument against it, I mean both apply to a genre classic, too, for crying out loud (My Best Friend’s Wedding). What about the performances, the Emma Thompson script, the Paul Feig direction, cinematography, production values etc. ? I’m not trying to knock your review, I’m just asking if you could please elaborate on those points.

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    1. Well it was a challenging film to write about because most of my problems would involve spoilers. As I said the transition of your lead from unlikable to someone we are rooting for has to be made at the right time which it was in My Best Friends Wedding. The script as far as the dialogue is serviceable but the plot didnt work for me. The direction and cinematography are fine but fail to elevate the story problems. I look at a film to see if it succeeds at what it’s trying to be. This film failed at being romantic, funny or a satisfying holiday film as I said in the review.

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    2. Also there’s a difference between not being “100% likable” as you put it and being an outright horrible person. And yes I expect there to be a happy ending in a romcom and if there isnt it needs to be really well written in order to subvert the genre well. That is not the case here

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      1. While I have a hard time believing the Emma Thompson / Paul Feig duo would deliver “an outright horrible” heroine or a problematic ending, again, I can form an opinion once I saw it, will report back then.

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