The holiday season is almost upon us. People are already putting Christmas lights up, buying their trees and hanging their stockings. December is a month clad with celebration, and with that comes the ever-anticipated influx of holiday rom-coms. Hallmark, Netflix and Lifetime all release their Christmas movie watchlists just in time for winter break and a few Christmas movies inevitably make their way into theaters.
“Last Christmas” starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding is arguably one of this year’s most anticipated holiday films. Kate (Clarke) is an aspiring singer/actress, who is trying to build a career in London, working as an elf at a Christmas shop until she gets her big break. Stereotypical of any rom-com, she meets a mysterious, handsome stranger named Tom (Golding) outside of the shop. His unwavering sense of optimism and willingness to help others balances out Kate’s cynical nature.
Following a heart transplant surgery, Kate is left feeling that a piece of her is missing and she will never be able to find her true self. But with Tom’s guidance, she is able to rediscover her passion for singing by volunteering at a homeless shelter. Tom and Kate seem so perfect for each other and the slow pace of the film makes you want to fast forward to their happily ever after.
With a cast featuring Clarke, who is fresh off of the “Game of Thrones” set, and Golding, who proved his abilities to play a leading man in “Crazy Rich Asians,” this movie should have soared based on their acting alone. But the film was nothing but an underdeveloped plot full of dead-ends.
The ending is incredibly under explained and doesn’t give enough attention to any of the plot twists that the writers threw in, which makes it frustrating to watch. Until the last 30 minutes, the movie was ok, but the surprises at the end just leave a bunch of loose ends that are never tied up.
However, I will give credit to writers who gave light to topics plaguing the media in London. They show clips of the Brexit hearings and shed light on immigration and homelessness. Kate and her family are immigrants who escaped the war in former Yugoslavia during the early 2000s. The movie starts off with a scene of Kate singing a George Michael song at a church in her home country, and there are scenes later where anti-immigrant ideologies show how rampant xenophobia is in our world.
Despite the awareness given to current events and the prejudice in the world, there is still not enough detail given in this movie to fully develop these concepts. There is just too much trying to happen in an hour and 45-minute film.
If you are looking for a holiday film to watch while sipping cocoa on the couch during a snow day, “Last Christmas” is a solid last resort. There is little romance, little comedy and an underdeveloped ending. Almost any rom-com that you can find on Netflix or Hallmark would be a better option.