If you needed any further proof that women are smarter than men, look no further than Last Christmas. While men watched the Bengals get pummeled yet again, a packed theater of ladies (and a few of us guys) enjoyed a movie reminiscent of Love Actually. Certainly not the ensemble cast, but the music of George Michael permeates the soul. Emma Thompson is a wonderful actress and she co-wrote the screenplay. It is typical of the wit and style of the English, and London at Christmas looks inviting. Should we view Christmas movies three weeks before Thanksgiving? Last Christmas will kickstart you into the season and put a smile on your face. I give the film 3.5 Gavels while the Scrooge-like critics are at 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Audience score stands at 81%.
Nothing goes right for Kate. Recovering from an illness, she drinks too much, her singing career is going nowhere, and anything she touches seems to turn into a disaster. Then, out of nowhere, perpetually-optimistic Tom enters her life. He overlooks her elf costume and gloomy disposition to send her life in a different direction. As she falls for him, he suddenly disappears for days at a time? Did she give her heart to the wrong man?
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) as Kate may surprise you in a role quite different from Daenerys. It seems a requirement that Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh appear in the same movie, even if not related. Golding flashes his smile as Tom and Yeoh is quite funny as a Kate’s boss at the Christmas shop. Emma Thompson also shows up as Kate’s mom, with a surprising Yugoslavian accent.
As Christmas rom-coms go, I agree with the critic who called it a “guilty pleasure.” That said, the plot twist at the end has been done before. Typically, we expect our romances to end “happily ever after.” But, spoiler alert, this is not quite the usual fare. For that, it must be given its due. Of course, Christmas movies are not everyone’s cup of eggnog. Still, Hallmark would not start them in October if there weren’t a big demand for hot chocolate, a warm blanket, and Yuletide love. Last Christmas is not a great film, but one we are likely to see repeatedly as the years go by.