Even with a sea of rom-coms to choose from, the movie “Last Christmas” stands out. On Nov. 8, “Last Christmas” starring Henry Golding and Emilia Clarke premiered. Unsurprisingly, the movie’s inspiration comes from the lyrics of “Last Christmas” by Wham!, which is also the theme song of the movie. While this movie is a pleasant addition to the existing Christmas movie offerings, it is not entirely without drawbacks.
“Last Christmas” features Kate, an aspiring singer played by Clarke, who meets Tom, a put-together charmer played by Golding. Before Kate met Tom, she had undergone a life-threatening ordeal that left her emotionally broken; after the pair meet, Tom helps Kate face her personal issues and helps her live more fully.
The chemistry between Golding and Clarke was the most impressive part of this movie. Instead of following the conventional “girl meets boy” rom-com storyline, in which the interactions between actors can feel stiff or forced, Golding and Clarke’s interactions give a sense of natural attraction — the two do not fall in love at first sight, which provides depth to their relationship. In fact, Kate rebuffs Tom’s efforts at friendship initially, thinking that he’s up to no good. What’s inspiring about this movie is the theme of family and its acknowledgement of real-life problems. Of course, some aspects are dramatized, but the rawness of the characters’ struggles is appealing; the audience is able to sympathize and connect with the characters. Some scenes even draw a few tears. Furthermore, the commentary on society extends beyond just private life to talk about racism and polarization. Reflecting the current state of society, the movie encourages the notion of spreading kindness and standing up for each other.
Despite a unique plotline, “Last Christmas” was not a flawless movie. While the acting was spot on, the plot was far from stellar. Critics were divided over the unique twist in the plotline of “Last Christmas,”with some finding that the twist detracted from the romantic mood. The sudden jolts in mood from happy to somber to happy again seemed jarring rather than meaningful. Furthermore, some of the dialogue seemed cheesy at times and detracted from the movie’s overall aesthetic. While the reception to this movie is divided, “Last Christmas” still exceeded expectations as a rom-com movie.
Typically, rom-coms are negatively associated with the stereotype of subpar acting. “Last Christmas,” however, delivers a spot-on performance that will render the audience moved. For those who are new to the rom-com genre, this movie surprises with its captivating plotline and stellar acting, and for those who already love holiday rom-coms, this movie is perfect.