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REVIEW: Last Christmas is much more than your average Yuletide rom-com

Kate (Clarke) is a mess. Currently without a home of her own due to her personal messiness, she has exhausted all couch-surfing options as her friends are, quite frankly, sick of her shit.

Oh, and she works at a Christmas shop that sees her dress as an elf every day of her life. Yeah, bah humbug! Her boss, Santa (Yeoh) is a stern but understanding woman who you suspect is teetering on the edge of giving Kate the boot as well.

It’s hinted that Kate has ongoing medical issues that impact her current inability to cope with life. Despite her lurching from one drunken disaster to another and taking advantage of those around her, we empathise with her right from the start. We hope she’s not going to let us down.

Out of nowhere, a tall, dark, handsome stranger Tom (Golding) appears in her life. This young man is kind, gentle and giving. Just the type of man who we hope can coax the cynical heroine into being nice to herself again.

I guess I should mention the movie is based on the songs of George Michael and Wham!

However, it is not a musical. I repeat, NOT a musical. I almost didn’t go in case it was, but the lure of Ms Clarke, Mr Holding and a script penned by the Goddess we call Dame Emma Thompson was just too tempting

(Those who follow my reviews know of my deep-seated aversion to musicals, so this was a definite win for me)

Should I watch it?

With its adorable, talented and highly capable leads, and a script that is as sharp as it is poignant, this movie isn’t what you think it’ll be. I thought I was wandering into yet another girl meets boy, boy saves girl rom-com starring this year’s cutest on-screen couple.

Throw in a wonderful George Michael soundtrack, that includes arguably some of the best known and most loved songs of the past 30 years, and we’re like deer caught in headlights.

But nope. It’s not just another rom-com.

Be warned, this movie will have you singing along to a boppy pop song one moment and having your emotions toyed with the next. I didn’t see the twist coming until very far into the movie and even then, I was only partly right. It’s an absolute credit to the writers.

I suspect in years to come, this movie will appear on screens every Christmas. Although not quite the instant success Love Actually was, with repeated viewing, this will be that movie you kinda liked when you saw it the first time but now, a decade later, you have watched it 800 times.

Soon enough, Christmas will no longer be Christmas without watching Love Actually and Last Christmas.

4 stars

Running Time:  103 minutes
Release Date:  In cinemas now
Who is in it: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, Michelle Yeoh

Written by Sue Ellen

Copywriter. Writer. Reviewer. Coffee addict. Handbag tragic. Conspiracy tin hatter. Drama Queen.