26th Nov2019

‘Last Christmas’ Review

by Alex Ginnelly

Stars: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Boris Isakovic, Emma Thompson, Maxim Baldry, Michelle Yeoh, Bilal Zafar, Patti LuPone, Lydia Leonard, Rob Delaney, Peter Serafinowicz | Written by Greg Wise, Emma Thompson, Bryony Kimmings | Directed by Paul Feig

last-christmas-poster

Last Christmas doesn’t just leave you asking what went wrong, it leaves you asking what went really, really, really wrong. With Paul Feig as the director, Emma Thompson as the writer and Emilia Clarke as the lead it had everything it needed to be a Christmas classic. In the end it’s another classic disaster.

The plot, as little as there is, tells us the story of Kate, played by Emilia Clarke. Kate is a young woman stuck in a rut of bad decisions, who works as one of Santa’s elves for a department store. When she meets Tom (Henry Golding) her life takes a new turn and she finds a new lease of life.

It’s this plot and the writing that’s at the heart of this movies many problems. The script is written by Oscar-winning Emma Thompson, who has written some of the best screenplays we’ve seen over the last 20 years. So, heading into this film I was optimistic and a little excited: a Christmas film written by Emma Thompson and directed by Paul Feig, it sounded too good to be true. It baffles me and can only leave me wondering what went wrong.

Just what was going through the minds of each cast member when they read the script for Last Christmas?

The painful dialogue took an age to get out, the film felt like it had a run time of over 180 minutes, and the jokes, what little there were, fell flat. The jokes that felt like they could land just left tumbleweed blowing through the theatre, and an awkward silence resting over the audience. At times it was painful to get through, and with such a poorly written lead character it was hard to care for anything she did, or buy into her character arc, in the end I just didn’t care for her character at all. The plot itself is also poor, it becomes predicable and any shocks the film has to offer fall flat as they can be seen coming from a mile off.

The one scene that did feel genuine, and provided the only laugh of Last Christmas, came from a homeless shelter sequence for this part of the film, as small as it was, felt like there was a good film there. Instead, we focus on Kate, and her painful character – it’s forced on us what a terrible person she is and how only Tom can save her. It’s these characters and the lack of plot that make the film seem so slow and drawn out. I don’t even think that with a better cast, or stronger performances from the two leads, that this film could have been saved. It lacks any laughs, and unfortunately any heart.

It’s a shame as a fan of both Feig and Thompson, not to mention Christmas films as a whole, Last Christmas is as bad as many have said it is. I’ll still be there for Emma Thompson and Paul Feig’s next film, but this is one I never want to see or even talk about again.

* 1/5

Last Christmas is in cinemas now.

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