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“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart” are lyrics to a song written figuratively, but what happens if this was a reality? This situation comes to life in the holiday movie, “Last Christmas,” which exclusively features George Micheal’s music. This film hit theaters Nov. 9, staring Emilia Clarke as Kate and Henry Golding as Tom Webster.
The initial idea for a film centered around Micheal’s music was started by the film’s producer David Livingstone. When it was proposed to Micheal before his death in 2016, his only condition was that the script be written by Emma Thompson, who also plays Petra, Kate’s mother. Thompson wrote the script for “Last Christmas” alongside Greg Wise and Bryony Kimmings. A year and a half after Micheal’s death the project was restarted after Micheal’s manager reached out to Livingstone and Thompson, who were also interested in reviving the project. Thompson sent the script to Paul Feig, who would direct the film.
The movie follows Kate, an emotionally lost 26-year-old in London, who works in a vibrant Christmas shop run by “Santa” played by Michelle Yeoh. Her goal is not to work as an elf but to make it as a singer. Early in the film Kate meets a quirky man named Tom through the window of the shop. Later that night after Kate’s singing audition, she runs into Tom again and he insists on taking her for a walk. Tom would take Kate on many adventures throughout the film, one of which is going to his favorite hideaway, a secret park. Tom continues to randomly appear and helps Kate find herself, become a better person, and teaches her to always “look up” and see the beauty in the world. While Kate looks for Tom after not seeing him for a few days, she is introduced to a homeless shelter while looking for him. She hesitantly starts volunteering at the shelter with the hopes of him showing up. Her service to others grows into much more and she eventually begins singing in support of the shelter. Tom and Kate’s relationship develops throughout the film as Kate tries to balance her recovery from illness, her complicated family, finding love, and rediscovering herself. Towards the end of the movie Kate faces a realization about her relationship with Tom that causes her to reevaluate the meaning of life and change for the better.
The performances of Golding and Clarke leaves the audience on the edge of their seats as the characters go on their journey together. The supporting cast, including Thompson as Kate’s mother, Petra, and Yeoh added some comic relief throughout the movie. Although the actors’ performances were captivating the movie has been met with mixed reviews regarding the plot. Some critics have said that the ending lacked closure regarding the romantic aspects of the movie and deserved a happier conclusion. However, the unconventional ending did provide emotional closure for the main character Kate. The rotten tomatoes critics gave the film a 48% rating. The website attributes the rating to the poor story line and the talented acting could not make up for the plot (rottentomatoes.com).
One Decatur student, junior Emily Lipscomb, saw “Last Christmas” with her mom and her sister, and has the same perspective on the film as the rotten tomato ratings.
Lipscomb stated,”We expected to see a feel good Christmas movie, but instead we were disappointed and let down.”
The films reviews begs the question of whether or not “Last Christmas” broke the mold too much. However, the film still holds the spirit of the holiday season and George Micheal.