Christmas rom coms! Tis the holiday season. While Halloween brings us horror movies, the festive season thrives on sappy romances. Well, this weekend director Paul Feig
drops his foray into the genre. What do you need to know before venturing to the London set, holiday rom-com, Last Christmas
follows Kate (Emilia Clarke
) a millennial struggling with everyday life in London. Adulting is… hard. Between her parents, health problems and the pain in the butt that is money, there’s just no getting ahead. However, just when things seem at their lowest, she meets Tom (Henry Golding
) and a breath of fresh air is injected into her hum drum life. Emma Thompson
and Michelle Yeoh
co-star in the movie. Paul Feig directs the film from a script by Thompson and Bryony Kimmings
Throughout his career, Paul Feig constantly demonstrates his skill at crafting characters, this goes back to some of his earliest work on the 1999 NBC series Freaks and Geeks
. In Last Christmas
, Feig combines beautifully with Clarke to bring Kate to the screen. While Clarke has absolutely slayed as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones
, she’s struggled a bit on movie screens. Together, they tap into a very real, raw and human place, and Clarke has rarely been better.
Kate’s story is a generational one, which feels particularly common to millennials — thought, it is equally as relevant as a quarter life crisis across the generations. She struggles under the weight of unreached potential, questions of “Is this really all there is?” as well as the feelings of vulnerability and fragility after an illness. She’s relatable and real, and this is at the root of the film’s emotional punch.
At the same time, Henry Golding continues to establish himself firmly as a presence on-screen. If you are a rom-com fan… like myself… You know the look of a rom-com male lead. It’s all in the look. In his recent work, particularly this and Crazy Rich Asians, he has this mastered. He had the ability to look at a woman like she is all at once the important, special, all-encompassing thing in the world to him. Speaking for the audience in my screening, the effect was swoon worthy. Everyone was — myself included— was sucked in… hard. As the film enters the third act and Katrina finally opens up to Tom about everything going on in her life, the results of the chemistry shines through on the screen. These two truly compliment each other and it works oh, so well.
I’m going to drift into some HUGE spoiler-y territory here… this is your warning. If you care about spoilers skip ahead two paragraphs… and I would probably advise it for this one.
Are they gone?
Ultimately, it is a little frustrating that my most substantial nitpick about Last Christmas is something which the movie can’t really control: its marketing. When the trailer initially dropped, rumors began running rampant about what people assumed the plot twist was going to be… and they were right. Can we call this the Sixth Sense of rom-coms? Well, Tom is dead. Yes. This plot point won’t work for everyone.
I’m a shameless crier in movies, and listening to the audience around me, a lot of people are (and they were definitely pulled into the narrative). However, I found myself too busy being annoyed to sob. My hope since the initial rumors started was that the film wouldn’t hit that beat. They would do something different! Ultimately, Last Christmas does nothing wrong in its execution, I just found myself frustrated in the feeling that I was robbed of the honest, emotional reaction that these other people were sobbing through.
Now, would I recommend this if you’re not a rom-com fan? No! Nope. No sir-ee. Last Christmas is an unabashed, human, romantic dramedy. This is less Spy and more Love Actually. There are those of us who love movies like this… the emotion, the crying, the fantasizing about falling in love in London over the holidays. I’m adult enough to know that this isn’t for everyone! Sentimental, boring schmaltz. Lame. Corny. These are all words that a different reviewer might use… who isn’t me. This story had me, hook, line and sinker.
Last Christmas hits theaters November 8th.
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as we look at classic pop culture through a historical and feminist lens. My name is Kim, you can find me on Twitter
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A film nerd from my earliest years watching Abbott and Costello, that eventually translated to a Master’s Degree in Film History. I spend my time working on my fiction projects in all their forms, as well as covering film and television.
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