Year after year, come November, the cinemas are filled with romcoms looking to be the new Love Actually, and unfortunately none has really come close. Last Christmas is one of this year’s most notable Christmas flicks, and it has a star studded cast including Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson and Michelle Yeoh. A British Christmas romcom, Last Christmas is bound to be compared to the Hugh Grant-starred classic, and if recent critics’ reviews are anything to go by, the comparison certainly didn’t tip in its favour.
Does that mean you should cancel your plan to see this movie and just stay home replaying Love Actually for the thousandth time? Absolutely not! Here are five very valid reasons we think you should ignore the bad reviews and go see Last Christmas anyway.
It’s truly a crime against humanity that Henry Golding has only been in two major movies prior to Last Christmas: Crazy Rich Asians and A Simple Favour. If you are a certified Henry Golding fanatic, you are probably a bit sick of replaying Crazy Rich Asians for a hundred times by now and are in dire need of new movies. It’s a no brainer, then, that you need to see Last Christmas ASAP. Two hours of the hunky Malaysian-British star at his most dashing and charming as he bikes around Christmas-lit London? Need we say more?
The most Christmas-y set decorations
From the tacky Christmas shop bustling with all sorts of odd little holiday trinkets to the insane amount of twinkling lights strewn all over London streets, it looks like Christmas threw up all over this movie, and we meant that in the best way possible. Every backdrop in this movie looks like it came out of the most Christmas-y, elaborately decorated holiday greeting cards out there and will leave you wishing you could live in this magical world forever.
The budding romance of Michelle Yeoh’s character
If you took a look at the cast and assumed that Michelle Yeoh would play Henry Golding’s mother like she did in Crazy Rich Asians, you are in for a surprise! In Last Christmas she plays Santa, the owner of the Christmas shop where Emilia Clarke’s character works. A stern boss who turns out to be a big softie at heart with a crush on a self-proclaimed sauerkraut expert, Santa is the comedic highlight of the film and is the complete opposite of many of Michelle Yeoh’s previous roles. She even giggles in one scene!
The unexpected social commentary
Not many movies have touched on the subject of Brexit and you certainly don’t expect that from what is supposed to be a feel-good Christmas movie. But Last Christmas did just that and more.
The Brexit message comes in the form of Katarina’s (Emilia Clarke) family, who move to London from Yugoslavia to escape from the war some twenty years ago and are all emotionally messed up in one way or another because of it. An immigrant family dealing with xenophobia while trying to fix their own dysfunctional relationships is a rare but important representation, especially in the Brexit era.
That plot twist
By now, everyone who pays attention to this movie at all knows there is some sort of twist. But the twist itself isn’t the reason you should see the film, but rather, what happens after that.
Here’s where we would ask you to stop reading if you wish to avoid spoilers. But if you have already figured out what the twist is (like half the internet did after the surprisingly spoilery official trailer came out) or don’t care about being spoiled, read on.
(Warning: Spoiler ahead!)
It isn’t the first time the lead couple in a romcom don’t end up together, but it’s refreshing how despite that, the ending still leaves us feeling as jolly and hopeful as any happy-ever-after ending could. In fact, Katarina’s contagious happiness as she merrily performs the titular song in front of an adoring audience at the end of the movie will make you forget all about the relationship that never came to be (and it helps that the movie shows us a glimpse of a new love interest on the horizon, too!).
Last Christmas is out in movie theatres islandwide now.