FILM REVIEW: Last Christmas (2019)

Tree with decorations with lights on buildings in the background
Credit: Marina Khrapova

A lighthearted festive must watch with twists and turns

Last Christmas follows protagonist Kate (played by Game of Thrones and Me Before You star Emilia Clarke), a hard-living 26-year-old in London. She works for a small Christmas shop in Covent Garden during the day and unsuccessfully auditions for West End shows at night. Her life consists of eating extremely unhealthily and one-night stands. After an unfortunate encounter with the girlfriend of the man she has just spent the night with, and subsequently being kicked out onto the street half-wet, Kate yells, “Why is my life so s**t?!”. We learn that last Christmas, Kate was dying and had to have a heart transplant. Before she became ill, Kate was vibrant and fun. She worked hard and aspired to become a singer but after the surgery, something changed.

Kate’s tired of people telling her what to do, they don’t understand how abnormal her life is and how lost she feels. She copes with sex, booze and lots of junk food, the things her doctor predictably advises her against. She’s described by her family and friends as selfish, lazy and “the furthest thing from an adult I know.” We learn that her mother Petra, a sweet character, (played by Hollywood A-lister Emma Thompson) has depression and somewhat thrived off the attention she could dote out to Kate while she was ill. Petra actually felt useful once again for a little while. She over-worries about everything and will not get off Kate’s case, constantly attempting to check up on her. This has led to Kate avoiding her overbearing mother and refusing to go back and live at home with her dysfunctional family despite having nowhere to live.

Just as her last few friends begin giving up on her and she is borderline homeless, Kate meets Tom, played by Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding. Tom appears to be extremely sweet and distinguishable due to not having a mobile phone. He is quirky, charitable and appears to be a good, honest person that genuinely wants to help others. Throughout the films he tells her to ‘’look up’’ and appreciate the world around her.

Kate’s life begins to change for the better. She starts helping the homeless, eats healthily, makes amends with the friends she’s taken advantage of and treated poorly. She reconnects with her family of Yugoslav immigrants, including her mother Petra. The movie unexpectedly focuses on a vast array of issues such as Brexit, LGBT, Hate crimes and body issues. The Brexit subplot is particularly highlighted in which immigrants are living in fear of their futures in the UK illustrated by Kate’s mum Petra screaming “They hate us! They send us all back!”. The movie features a cameo from British TV presenter Sue Perkins among others. The plot-twist however, is something that no-one saw coming. The film is lighthearted, humorous and A must-watch. Last Christmas is available in cinemas.

Hameem Hasan

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