Kate (Emilia Clarke) has hit a brick wall. She was a songbird who could turn George Michael’s “Heal the Pain” into a transcendental choral experience when she was a little kid growing up in Yugoslavia around 1999. Decades later, she’s a young woman who drowns her sorrows in London bars, alienating her most devoted friends in the process.
When Holiday Movies Go Very Very Wrong
Don’t even get her started on her relatives: Dad (Boris Isakovic), a former lawyer who now drives a cab, browbeats everyone, and her sister (Lydia Leonard) refuses to speak to her. She auditions for musical theatre parts on occasion, such as an ice-skating version of Frozen. Kate mostly works part-time at a year-round Christmas decorations store. She’s a lovely, eccentric fuck-up from the Toxic-Twee division of the United Kingdom. But soft, what light filters through the windows of that retail store? Tom (Henry Golding from Crazy Rich Asians) is his name. With his frequent bike-riding, unwavering positivity, and incessant pleas that she “look up,” he’s both attractive and frustrating, Kate believes.
Because that’s how you see the everyday wonders that are all around you and above you if you just take the time to notice them! Kate makes fun of his cheerful demeanour. Tom pushes her to be kinder to others and herself. Except the manic J. Crew dream hunk has a habit of disappearing or going off at inconvenient times — the guy “works nights,” after all — and then reappearing suddenly when our heroine is at her lowest. In the interim, she volunteers at the local homeless shelter and acts as a matchmaker for her boss (Michelle Yeoh) and a prominent Dutch customer (Peter Mygind), whom the older woman likes and refers to as “Boy,” which… just… never mind. Even if you didn’t pay attention to the minor internet discussion surrounding Last Christmas, you can tell something significant is about to happen.
In fact, if you pay closely, you can probably figure out what the climactic curveball is, especially when news of some nebulous prior ailment Kate has endured begins to arise. When your greatest suspicions are confirmed — and then doubled down on — your blood boils with wrath rather than your heart pitter-pattering. However, the film’s deep take on the are-you-serious question is on-brand. This is the kind of film that confuses obvious and saccharine with creative, ham-fisted with nuanced, and basically stringing together George Michael melodies as homage.
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