★★★ | Last Christmas
LAST CHRISTMAS – Festive rom com based on the massive two million selling Christmas hit single by George Michael and Wham of the same name backed up by as many of his other hits as Emma Thompson who is in charge here both in front of and behind the camera can squeeze into the short running time. There are Christmas baubles in every single scene.
Nutshell – An accident prone singleton who is unlucky in love played by Game Of Thrones ‘Queen Of Dragons’ Emilia Clark works in a all year round Covent garden Christmas Grotto Store and she simply loves George Michael music. She meets a new man who has an element of mystery about him but her life really starts to change for the better with his on/off input leading towards a surprising denouement… that some will see coming a mile off.
Running Time – 103 Minutes – Cert PG-12A.
Tagline – ‘Sometimes You just gotta have Faith’
The Gay UK Factor – It is a very ‘straight’ romantic tale with the usual cinema ups and downs so the gay appeal besides the hot male lead Henry Golding all comes in the form of the soundtrack. GM is one of the most successful and popular gay singers of all time and his songs are much loved and hold up superbly well with time. It is great to hear them again largely in their original versions – their relevance to individual movie scenes is another matter all together though.
Cast – Emilia Clark, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thomson and a cast of star cameos including Patti Lapone, Rob Delaney, Sue Perkins and even Mr Richard Notting Hill/4 Weddings/Love Actually (which this film aims to be) Curtis… plus two big surprise appearances in the final scene.
Key Player – We would love to say the lovely talented actor/director Emma Thompson but tbh her input in both roles are not her career high points so it is back to Georgie boy again who gave Thompson his permission to use his songs before his untimely death. You get 13 of his most well known songs (some in their entirety) and the much publicised new unreleased song ‘This Is How (We want You To Get High)’ which is mid table GM probably at best… it sure ain’t no ‘Careless Whisper’ or ‘A Different Corner’ that’s for sure.
Budget – $25 Million which is as cheap as chips and it has already made $37 Million with 5 weeks to still go to the big guy in the red suit who like our editor only comes once a year turns up. Christmas films do tend to have long legs in the earning stakes becoming relevant Love Actually/It’s A Wonderful Life stylee every year on DVT/TV/Streaming etc so a potential good little earner and it won’t do George’s record sales any damage either which is great for many of his favoured charities.
Best Bit – 1.05 mins; The movie starts getting into its belated heart warming third act just at the right time as you are wandering where it is going with some fun busking and charity fund raising which fits as perfectly with all the snow and Xmas trees here as a cock in a tinseled glory hole.
Worst Bit – 0.44 mins; A staged bit of early romance on an ice rink is forced in like a set piece that seemed like a good idea on paper but it just doesn’t work and the GM track is a very poor fit which misses the hoped for emotional target by a few thousand candy canes… maybe Ace Of Spades, Anarchy in The UK , Gangnam Style or Baby Shark would have worked better.
Little Secret – George Michael wrote ‘Last Christmas’ one of the most famous festive songs in history when he was just 17 years old. Impressive but get this he had written ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’, ‘Freedom’, ‘Club Tropicana’, ‘Young Guns’, ‘Bad Boy’s and unbelievably ‘Careless Whisper’ before he was 18 when the rest of us were still learning how to jack off properly.
It was probably the most prolific bout of songwriting in History that even members of the Beatles would struggle to compete with. ‘Last Christmas’ was a double A-side with ‘Everything She Wants’ and famously is the biggest selling song in History to never make number one. It is the Third biggest selling Christmas song ever behind Band Aid and Boney M’s hummable ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ far outstripping Slade/Shaky/Mariah/Pogues/Wizard/Cliff/Bing et al.
It has been a hit on 16 separate occasions a world record and it has just reached 90 weeks on the chart which is phenomenal for a tune with not all year round appeal but for some reason it failed to make the Top 20 in the US.
Further Viewing – You can probably make this list yourself but start with About Time, It’s A Wonderful Life, Walking On Sunshine, Four Weddings, Ever After, Two Weeks Notice, Sleepless In Seattle, Notting Hill, The Wedding Singer, Muriel’s Wedding, the magnificent Pretty Woman and You’ve Got Mail which this is basically a carbon copy off this film but that was better.
Any Good – It is OK which most people will see as a disappointment as the idea and premise seems fool proof. It just does not deliver on the promise. The Christmas feel is great so you will feel in the holiday mood on leaving a screening but there are two fundamental flaws.
Firstly the movie just is not that funny and we expect you may laugh once every 30 minutes and that simply is not good enough.
Secondly and even more damaging is the songs with the exception of the headline song’s three appearances have no relevance to the scenes they are in, they seem crow barred in and could actually be swapped with any other GM song without anyone noticing…
Mamma Mia Here We Go Again / LaLa Land or Rocketman this is not.
Rating – 41/100