Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

'Last Christmas': Homage to George Michael

Liv Lo and Henry Golding attend'Last Christmas New York premiere Liv Lo and Henry Golding | Steven Ferdman WireImage
Lora Ball | 11 November, 2019, 00:46

Director Feig has built an interesting body of work, and while "Last Christmas" feels much more like a Thompson film than a Feig film (rapidly wordy, delightfully goofy), he brings a swift bounciness to the material.

If the only thing you've seen Emilia Clarke do is herd dragons as Khaleesi on Game of Thrones, an eight-year role in which she was never once required to be happy, you wouldn't know she's rocking one of the most winning smiles in modern movies.

When cute Tom (Henry Golding), seemingly a bike messenger, pushes his way into her life, he starts to break through her barriers and cheer her up until she reconciles with her dysfunctional family and thinks she and Tom have a future.

So far, this might sound like a reworking of Ernst Lubitsch's "The Shop Around the Corner" (still the greatest X-mas rom-com).

Emma Thompson might be the funniest part of the cast, mostly because most of us can relate in some way to the overbearing mother that always has to voice her opinions.

Kate's mom is played by Emma Thompson, a war refugee who constantly badgers her with phone calls. The relationship is lopsided, with Tom focusing on Kate's persona and trying to help her open up, while Kate can't get Tom to open up enough to really get to know him.

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It's not to be found. Once the target audience gets past the idea that this isn't the cookie cutter rom com they were expecting, "Last Christmas" will live on.

Clarke plays Londoner Kate, who is traveling pell-mell down the path of self-destruction with boozy one-night-stands, a steady diet of takeout, and selfish behaviour that has alienated even her most stalwart friends. These movies can be rosy portraits of their cities and their wealthier, white residents.

Ranking discussed: "Last Christmas" is rated PG-13 for adult themes and predicaments, in addition some vulgarity and profanity. This is set amid the harsh context of Brexit, with background TVs showing the United Kingdom debates and one "go back to where you came from" encounter on a city bus. Instead, Kate (she insists on dropping the ethnic stuff from her name) works as an elf at a Christmas goods store, crashing on friends' couches and in strangers' beds, blowing her auditions and generally making a mess of herself. Kate is an aspiring singer/actress who is now employed as the elf/sales clerk at a year-round Christmas decorations shop, run by a woman who calls herself Santa (Michelle Yeoh).

Kate is also recovering from a health issue referenced only vaguely at first. When we 1st meet up with Kate, she's entrance and middle in her church youth choir, singing a soaring solo in her native Yugoslavia property back in 1999. There are a few slow sections and, if it weren't for the excellent actors, it could be a Hallmark or Lifetime romance movie on TV but we can rate it three stars. His last film, the 2018 suburban noir "A Simple Favor", was derailed by wild, "Gone Girl"-inspired plot developments".

There's also a lot of the George Michael song "Last Christmas", as sung by him and covered by others, in LAST CHRISTMAS. Its heart might be in the right place, even if its storyline isn't.

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