“Take care of my heart. It was always going to be yours, one way or another.”
Kate is a struggling actress who works at a year-round Christmas shop and has been making some poor life choices since a brush with death a year earlier. But then she meets Tom.
At first she finds him weird – and a little bit serial killery. But slowly that all begins to change in the Universal Pictures movie “Last Christmas” (2019).
Our Review: Last Christmas
The story of “Last Christmas” is pretty much the story of Kate (Emilia Clarke) – and how all her bad decisions impact those around her.
Clarke is great as Kate – and we get to witness the Christmas miracle: Kate growing as a person. She becomes more caring and helpful, thanks in large part to Tom (Henry Golding) teaching her how to do so.
Slowly, Kate realizes the multiple errors of her ways (e.g., drinking too much, sleeping around, eating poorly) and understanding that “helping people is what makes us happy.”
By the end, after all she goes through, Kate tries to make amends with her mother (Emma Thompson), sister (Lydia Leonard), boss (Michelle Yeoh), and other friends in her life who leant her a place to sleep.
If you’ve been disappointed by the stunning lack of character development and growth in most of the 2019 Hallmark movies, you won’t be disappointed here by Kate’s journey.
Overall, the writing is solid. The dialogue is punchy – at times it comes fast and furious, often humorous, but at times quite serious as well. Overall the pace was fine, though 5-10 minutes easily could be cut here.
Here’s our breakdown.
The Nice List
Our Favorite Scenes
Our favorite romantic scene: when Kate and Tom sing together in his apartment, and Tom sweetly kisses Kate goodnight.
Our favorite comedic scene: When Kate and her mother are at the doctor. After contradicting each other throughout, the doctor advises Kate’s mother to spend time with her friends. Her response? “All my friends were murdered.”
Some Great Acting
We thought Emma Thompson was phenomenal. She was super funny as the mom.
She shined as a complex, miserable, guilt-tripping mother. Her deadpanning was amazing – and she had so many great lines.
Clarke and Golding were both great and likable throughout. Though it took us a while to get used to seeing Clarke be clumsy and unsure of herself after watching her be graceful and powerful as the Mother of Dragons on “Game of Thrones”.
A LOT. There are so many laughs in “Last Christmas”.
(Fair warning: if you’re easily offended by humor of the dark, politically incorrect, or potty variety, you may want to stay away. This is a PG-13 film.)
- At Santa’s banter with Kate, especially when she gives her various elf names (Lazy the Elf; Crushing Disappointment the Elf; Why Is She Even Here the Elf).
- At the Santa/Boy relationship, including when Santa comments that she’s never eaten so much fermented cabbage in her life.
It All Looks Very Christmasy
The Yuletide shop is amazing, as is the skating rink and some nicely decorated areas of London. Kate even manages to kick up her elf outfit a notch by wrapping herself in Christmas lights.
When it’s not Christmasy, it is done so purposefully. Most starkly, at the family’s home, which is right next to another home that is an explosion of Christmas lights.
It Sounds Christmasy
Obviously, the song “Last Christmas” is a co-star here in the film. It’s just one of many George Michael songs featured (Kate basically worships him).
We also get a medley of traditional Christmas carols, as Kate sings to raise money for the homeless shelter.
- When the big twist is revealed.
- When we see Kate at the Christmas show and you realize how much she has changed. (And she’s sees Tom one more time.)
After the big concert, we get to see Kate’s family reunited for dinner. Everybody seems to love each other where they’re at by the end (instead of wishing/hoping they’d be something different).
It’s a Blackadder Christmas Carol Sighting
In one scene at the house with Kate and her mom, watch the TV in the background. “Blackadder’s Christmas Carol” is showing.
Fitting choice, considering Kate has an Ebenezer Scrooge-like turnaround.
If You Liked Last Christmas You Might Like:
- Heaven Sent (2016)
- Once Upon a Christmas Miracle (2018)
- A Heavenly Christmas (2016)
- Christmas Magic (2011)
This is not your typical Hallmark-style gentle romantic comedy. “Last Christmas” is a bit raunchy at times. However, it’s also a sweet movie you can safely give your heart to. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. But in the end, you may be wishing there was just a bit more Christmas (and romance) in this movie.