Nothing seems to go right for young Kate (Emilia Clarke), a frustrated Londoner who works as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. But things soon take a turn for the better when she meets Tom Webster (Henry Golding) — a handsome charmer who seems too good to be true. As the city transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, Tom and Kate’s growing attraction turns into the best gift of all — a Yuletide romance.
As the Christmas/holiday season is quickly approaching, many people love nothing more than to watch their favorite holiday themed movie this time of year. Some people, like myself, like to do Christmas movie marathons – binging what we consider to be the greatest holiday films in celebration of the holiday. Even when some Christmas films are not always the greatest films in the world, I think we can all agree that a lot of them are so incredibly fun to watch. They make us feel warm and fuzzy inside and get us in the joyous spirit.
That is not to say that there is no such thing as an amazing Christmas movie, though. It’s A Wonderful Life has gone down as a classic decades after its release and Christmas Vacation is a non-stop laugh riot. This is why I was quite thrilled to check out Paul Feig’s latest feature Last Christmas – it looked like it had all the great ingredients for a fun Christmas treat.
Feig is a director that I admire deeply. He has made such gems as last year’s A Simple Favor and Bridesmaids, and even though his 2016 Ghostbusters reboot was met with a wave of controversy by audiences and critics alike, that is a film that I greatly respect, because Feig took a giant creative risk. Whether it paid off or not is subject to the viewer, but I love it when a filmmaker is not afraid to try something new and do their best to make it work. Gratefully, Last Christmas is yet another win for Feig, as this is a gleefully fun and charming picture that will surely get viewers into the holiday spirit.
Emilia Clarke stars as Kate in this film, a young woman who is incredibly unlucky and works at a Christmas shop, and her boss goes by the name “Santa”. Her love life is awful and practically every day is a struggle for her to get through. But as the movie progresses, we start to see little glimpses of Kate trying to better herself, especially after meeting Henry Golding’s character Tom.
Clarke is without a doubt one of the greatest actresses working today and one of the best of the generation. She is able to bring such charisma to each and every one of her roles, and no matter what character she is playing, she does a great job at playing them. I have yet to see Clarke deliver a weak performance. Here, she is full of wit and energy, and is extremely likeable. We genuinely do root for her from beginning to end.
This is also an extraordinarily funny movie. The script by Emma Thompson and Bryony Kimmings is whip-smart and there is a ton of things to like about it. There is something of interest or humor happening for the majority of the picture. This is the hardest I have laughed during a movie in a long time.
However, there are definitely some scenes in Last Christmas that drag quite a bit. There are some sequences, particularly in the second act of the film, that just are not that interesting and the movie’s humor dips here as well. The pacing of this movie is really its biggest issue. There were a couple of scenes towards the end, where it felt like the movie could have ended a scene or two earlier, as well.
After watching a whole plethora of dark and depressing movies, it is extremely refreshing to watch something like Last Christmas. This is far from being a perfect movie, but it gave me everything that I wanted from it. I wanted to watch a fun Christmas comedy, and it certainly succeeded on that aspect.
Last Christmas makes up for its flaws with a deeply funny script, a sense of great fun and holiday charm, and a terrific performance from Emilia Clarke.
Overall Grade: B
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual content
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson
Directed by: Paul Feig
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Running Time: 103 minutes