Last Christmas embraces clichés and modern love

Addie Joseph

From the mind of Emma Thompson, Last Christmas is the latest festive tale to grace the silver screen, providing both a modernized take on Christmas miracles, as well as a less-than-subtle George Michael tribute.

Doing its best to avoid the usual tinselly varnish that gets tacked onto Christmas movies, the film instead conveys that the “Miracle of Christmas” isn’t always comprised of ringing bells and perfectly timed kisses under the mistletoe. 

Instead, it is about learning how to cope with hardships and facing life head-on rather than drifting through it. 

Emilia Clarke stars as Kate, a Londoner stuck in a year-round gig as a “career elf” in a Christmas shop, who poses as the perfect embodiment of a quarter-life crisis. 

Once destined for a life on the stage, Kate is forced to put those dreams on hold when she falls ill. 

Though her health recovers, it proves harder for Kate to regain her former spirit and zeal for life. 

Her boss thinks she’s lazy, her friends find her selfish and Kate is willing to do anything other
than face the problems she continuously creates and eventually festers.

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At times, the story does get heavy, but sprinkles of comedic relief ­­­­— a credit to director Paul Feig, who’s known for his comedic flair — left the theater reeling with laughter throughout.

Cue Tom, a handsome but mysterious man who appears in the cluttered window of Kate’s work. 

He’s charming, taking the time to understand Kate, and offers her the support she desperately needs. With him, things seem to fall into place, or so it seems.

More than delving into the happenings of Kate’s life, Last Christmas also examines broader issues that prove to be vastly vernacular among contemporary viewers. 

Nods to Brexit and LGBTQ+ issues ground the story in a realistic world, as viewers empathize with the trials characters face relating to assimilation versus self-acceptance. 

At times, the story does get heavy, but sprinkles of comedic relief ­­­­— a credit to director Paul Feig, who’s known for his comedic flair — left the theater reeling with laughter throughout. 

It’s only toward the end that the film truly realizes itself, which perhaps becomes its undoing as it falls victim to the common cliché that in a Christmas movie; everyone is entitled to the happiest of endings. 

This and an abundance of tinsel and fairy lights lead audience members to wonder if some
miracles are simply too good to be true.

Undoubtedly, Last Christmas is the perfect dose of catharsis and comfort, but whether it truly succeeded to diverge from the conventions of its genre is debatable at best.