Last Christmas and I are one in the same; we both have a love for George Michael. That’s the big takeaway. That’s it. That’s the review.
Okay, fine. I’ll go deeper. I like Paul Feig a great deal. I think his filmography is an interesting one. He seems to find a way to take dead on arrival concepts and turn them into something fun and unique. Bridesmaids and Spy in lesser hands could’ve been bad. With Last Christmas, Feig stays the course. He knows how to get grounded, yet goofy performances out of his actors. It’s obvious he is a fan of Old Hollywood and French Cinema because his shot composition has that vibe. It’s a Christmas movie that isn’t overblown with whimsey. This could easily be mistaken for a Hallmark TV movie, but his dedication to the craft helps elevate the film. Another quality day at the office for Mr. Feig.
The real downside of the film is that it lacks narrative. It’s a movie that is moved by theme and not plot. While the themes and ideals are good enough for the audience to bite down on, the mid-section of the film becomes a tad tedious. With no obvious plot direction, the film meanders a bit and it makes one wonder if this is going anywhere. It would’ve been nice if there was a pinch more story to this. That being said, it’s a nice character study and the themes are good. So, I couldn’t be all that upset with it.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Emila Clarke really has come into her own as an actor. The entirety of the movie hinges on her performance. Luckily, she was on her game and she proved she can carry a movie. The character she is playing is a mess and does questionable things throughout the movie, but the audience never stops being on her side. It’s just a likable performance. Henry Goulding is leading man material and continues to prove it with each passing movie he is in. It’s no wonder he and Feig have taken to working together. Goulding has an old school Cary Grant vibe to him, and it’s obvious he is gonna go so far. Thompson and Yeoh anchor the rest of the cast out nicely. Even though Thompson’s choice of accent took some getting used to.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
It boasts a soundtrack with George Michael and Wham. This was always gonna get a full rating from me. It does not disappoint and the choice does help set it apart from other Christmas fare. It even made me want to listen to more George Michael, so the film is a gift in my eyes.
It looks like a Christmas movie, being full of those colors one would be accustomed to. The best set piece is the Christmas shop owned by Michelle Yeoh’s character. I bet whoever the set designer was for the film had a field day.
Last Christmas is a satisfying enough Christmas feature that will tide over many who want to get into the spirit early. What it may lack in strong plot, it makes up for in heart and a rockin’ soundtrack. It even has a few twists and turns that took me by surprise. An enjoyable yuletide carol of a film.