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Last Christmas Review

. Monday, 18 November 2019 .



I don't care what other reviews say. Last Christmas is a wonderful, warm, and charismatic Christmas film. Critics be damned! I went to the New Zealand Premiere of Last Christmas recently and since posting about it on Instagram (and okay, I've been posting about it a lot. I just reaaaaally love it), it's all everyone seems to be asking me about! And by everyone, I kinda just mean my friends, really.




Last Christmas seems to be one of the most highly anticipated films this year and I myself have been excited to see this for months. To put into context just how much I was dying to see this: I was away on a work trip for two days on what felt like the ends of the earth (not really, we were out in Silverdale lol) and it took me a rush hour Uber ride and then another commute to get to the cinemas just to go see it. I just flat out refused to miss it. As Meatloaf famously said, "I will do anything for love". And I boy oh boy did I do just that!




This is a film after my own heart. I mean, what's not to love? It's got everything! Christmas! Emilia Clarke! A lot of thirst courtesy of Mr Golding! Alleyways! London! Quotable quotes that hit you right in the feels! The film even ventures into an area that most 'feel good' holiday-themed films probably wouldn't even touch: Brexit, generational gap especially between migrant parents and their children who grew up in their adopted country, immigration and 'othering'.




And I haven't even mentioned the best part yet - the film is inspired by the music of George Michael so as these scenes unfold, they do so with classics like "Faith" and "Freedom" playing in the background. Then there's the part about the brilliant Emma Thompson co-writing the script. I mean, as far as Christmas films go, this one is going right up there to my list of must sees during the season, joining the ranks of cult classics like "Love, Actually" (which is not the most PC film, I know, but that's a discussion for another day), "The Holiday", and "Serendipity".




I think the problem with these negative reviews is that they compare it so much to Love, Actually or any of those classic cult faves that in the process, they don't allow it to be what it is: a standalone film that is not the next "Love, Actually" but rather a film that reflects our changing world and perfectly captures our world as it is in this period of time.




There are a few scenes in particular that got to me because it deals with racism and validates what a lot of people of colour's stories about harassment in public spaces. As a POC myself, I resonated so much with the Kate and her family, of wanting to fit in and adapt to a new culture and environment as an immigrant while somehow also learning to accept this other side of you and your heritage and upbringing. I felt those stories profoundly. Of her dad being an Uber driver when he had a whole other career back in their home country that he wasn't able to practice in London. It's such a common immigrant story - you often hear of how so and so was a well-respected doctor back home, but when they move overseas they struggle to find a job in their industries and have to settle for jobs they are overqualified for. Not saying there's anything wrong with those jobs. I'm just saying that there's a reason why immigrants are not getting jobs they qualify for and we all know why. It's those quiet, profound scenes in the film that was hard to watch. Because I saw on that big screen real life stories I'm all too familiar with. Because I understood the way Emma Thompson's character's anxiety manifested and I felt how scary it must be like for her to live in a different country that's been home for years and still feel like she's not welcome there. These aren't just scenes from a fictional movie. These are some people's daily lives, finally reflected on a film for others to hopefully see and understand more. It was so special watching it with my mum as the film really explored a lot of that mother and daughter dynamic! Emma Thompson is such a versatile actress who, like in her role in "Love, Actually" will break your heart and put it back together again.




That's what makes it so great! Because you think Christmas feel good films are usually just fluffy and an explosion of cliches and overused, unrealistic storylines. I mean, this film has all those too (and I love it! Give me the cliches, give me predictability. I even called the big 'twist' from the start - I've seen far too many cheesy Filipino movies that I could spot it a mile away) but it really opens up a timely conversation about what our generation is dealing with. I also loved that the concept of 'looking up' was such an important part of the film. It's something I've been thinking about for ages - how we need to be looking up more. To the stars in the sky. To the buildings above us. Look up to find a new perspective. Look up more. I even wrote about it on Instagram a few weeks ago here.






Sure there were parts that felt a bit disjointed and erratic, but the payoff makes it all worth it. I was bawling by the last monologue delivered and that haunting version of Last Christmas. 'Tis the season for kindness and compassion. We shouldn't need a film to remind us of 'the real meaning of Christmas' but Last Christmas drives that point home in the most charming, offbeat, and empathetic way. What more can we ask from a Christmas film?




Thank you so much Universal Pictures NZ for having us along! The Christmas trees and lamp posts and fake snow and mulled wine really created such a festive atmosphere and got us really excited for December. Last Christmas is out in cinemas now! Watch the trailer here.

 





I don't care what other reviews say. Last Christmas is a wonderful, warm, and charismatic Christmas film. Critics be damned! I went to the New Zealand Premiere of Last Christmas recently and since posting about it on Instagram (and okay, I've been posting about it a lot. I just reaaaaally love it), it's all everyone seems to be asking me about! And by everyone, I kinda just mean my friends, really.




Last Christmas seems to be one of the most highly anticipated films this year and I myself have been excited to see this for months. To put into context just how much I was dying to see this: I was away on a work trip for two days on what felt like the ends of the earth (not really, we were out in Silverdale lol) and it took me a rush hour Uber ride and then another commute to get to the cinemas just to go see it. I just flat out refused to miss it. As Meatloaf famously said, "I will do anything for love". And I boy oh boy did I do just that!




This is a film after my own heart. I mean, what's not to love? It's got everything! Christmas! Emilia Clarke! A lot of thirst courtesy of Mr Golding! Alleyways! London! Quotable quotes that hit you right in the feels! The film even ventures into an area that most 'feel good' holiday-themed films probably wouldn't even touch: Brexit, generational gap especially between migrant parents and their children who grew up in their adopted country, immigration and 'othering'.




And I haven't even mentioned the best part yet - the film is inspired by the music of George Michael so as these scenes unfold, they do so with classics like "Faith" and "Freedom" playing in the background. Then there's the part about the brilliant Emma Thompson co-writing the script. I mean, as far as Christmas films go, this one is going right up there to my list of must sees during the season, joining the ranks of cult classics like "Love, Actually" (which is not the most PC film, I know, but that's a discussion for another day), "The Holiday", and "Serendipity".




I think the problem with these negative reviews is that they compare it so much to Love, Actually or any of those classic cult faves that in the process, they don't allow it to be what it is: a standalone film that is not the next "Love, Actually" but rather a film that reflects our changing world and perfectly captures our world as it is in this period of time.




There are a few scenes in particular that got to me because it deals with racism and validates what a lot of people of colour's stories about harassment in public spaces. As a POC myself, I resonated so much with the Kate and her family, of wanting to fit in and adapt to a new culture and environment as an immigrant while somehow also learning to accept this other side of you and your heritage and upbringing. I felt those stories profoundly. Of her dad being an Uber driver when he had a whole other career back in their home country that he wasn't able to practice in London. It's such a common immigrant story - you often hear of how so and so was a well-respected doctor back home, but when they move overseas they struggle to find a job in their industries and have to settle for jobs they are overqualified for. Not saying there's anything wrong with those jobs. I'm just saying that there's a reason why immigrants are not getting jobs they qualify for and we all know why. It's those quiet, profound scenes in the film that was hard to watch. Because I saw on that big screen real life stories I'm all too familiar with. Because I understood the way Emma Thompson's character's anxiety manifested and I felt how scary it must be like for her to live in a different country that's been home for years and still feel like she's not welcome there. These aren't just scenes from a fictional movie. These are some people's daily lives, finally reflected on a film for others to hopefully see and understand more. It was so special watching it with my mum as the film really explored a lot of that mother and daughter dynamic! Emma Thompson is such a versatile actress who, like in her role in "Love, Actually" will break your heart and put it back together again.




That's what makes it so great! Because you think Christmas feel good films are usually just fluffy and an explosion of cliches and overused, unrealistic storylines. I mean, this film has all those too (and I love it! Give me the cliches, give me predictability. I even called the big 'twist' from the start - I've seen far too many cheesy Filipino movies that I could spot it a mile away) but it really opens up a timely conversation about what our generation is dealing with. I also loved that the concept of 'looking up' was such an important part of the film. It's something I've been thinking about for ages - how we need to be looking up more. To the stars in the sky. To the buildings above us. Look up to find a new perspective. Look up more. I even wrote about it on Instagram a few weeks ago here.






Sure there were parts that felt a bit disjointed and erratic, but the payoff makes it all worth it. I was bawling by the last monologue delivered and that haunting version of Last Christmas. 'Tis the season for kindness and compassion. We shouldn't need a film to remind us of 'the real meaning of Christmas' but Last Christmas drives that point home in the most charming, offbeat, and empathetic way. What more can we ask from a Christmas film?




Thank you so much Universal Pictures NZ for having us along! The Christmas trees and lamp posts and fake snow and mulled wine really created such a festive atmosphere and got us really excited for December. Last Christmas is out in cinemas now! Watch the trailer here.

 


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