Review: Last Christmas

Year: 2019

Runtime: 103 Minutes

Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Emma Thompson, Bryony Kimmings and Greg Wise  

Stars: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, Michelle Yeoh, Maxim Baldry

Movies Like “Last Christmas” Have a Decidedly Female Audience, and That’s Okay

By Jossalyn Holbert

I think we can all agree that Hallmark-adjacent Christmas movies like “Love, Actually,” “The Holiday,” and most recently, “Last Christmas” were made with female audiences in mind, right? The romantic scenarios that would never happen play on the ladies’ heartstrings during the most festive time of year, the holidays. But, branding a piece of media this way comes at a cost, and that cost is reducing its value as a film.

“Last Christmas” (dir. Paul Feig, written by the illustrious Emma Thompson) draws inspiration from the George Michael song of the same name. It centres on Kate (Emilia Clarke), a hot mess of a woman surviving, not thriving, in modern London. She works as an elf employee in a Christmas shop, hoping to someday make it as a performer at West End.

“Last Christmas” runs the gamut: girl meets boy, girl and boy run into each other in every possible way imaginable, they love each other after a few days…This movie made me cry no less than five times.”

Kate meets Tom Webster (Henry Golding), a do-gooder of a man who has a much better handle on life than Kate does. In true romantic comedy fashion, he teaches her how to be a human being again, and she falls in love with him.

last christmas 1

The audience discovers during the movie that Kate had a heart transplant, and ever since then, she has lost touch with her life. By meeting Tom and volunteering at a homeless shelter, she is able to better understand her purpose for being on this earth, something she lost sight of.

Scenarios like this are not the most realistic, with a woman falling for a man she has just barely met, but these tropes still get repeated in every rom-com from here until Sunday.

“Last Christmas” runs the gamut: girl meets boy, girl and boy run into each other in every possible way imaginable, they love each other after a few days. We have all seen this before, but to me, this is something woman fall for in their movie-going experiences, precisely because it’s what has been marketed to us our whole lives.

last christmas ema

It is a bit of a cycle. Young girls grow up watching Disney fairytales and then eventually chick flicks, as adults craving those exact storylines because it teaches us how to be a woman. To love and be loved.

“Last Christmas” is no Oscar-bait, but be sure to have the tissues ready because the tears will flow.”

Not all women like romantic comedies, of course, but that message that we must find our Prince Charming to sweep us off our feet rings loudly in our ears. “Last Christmas” is the most recent iteration of that idea.

emilia last

This movie made me cry no less than five times. The romance, the serendipity of meeting a handsome man in the street, the tragedy (no spoilers) is what I, at the very least, know best. “Last Christmas” is no Oscar-bait, but be sure to have the tissues ready because the tears will flow.

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