Is Last Christmas a new festive staple?

A romantic comedy, based on a George Michael song? It would be incredibly easy to be cynical about this idea but honestly, I thought Last Christmas is a gem.

Emma Thompson’s fingers are all over this as writer and producer and has a delightful cameo as the singing Slavic mother. However, the wonder at the heart of this film is Emilia Clarke’s comedic turn as Kate, whose life has lost its shape and purpose, and staggers from one disaster to the next. And the music of George Michael weaves through – a heartbreaking reminder of just how brilliant he was – providing a perfect counterpoint to the action onscreen.

London looks perfectly festive as the backdrop as Kate suffers one self-inflicted disaster after another while working in a Christmas shop, run by the brilliant Michelle Yeoh. But, there is a bitter side too, reminding us of some of the ugly and casual racism that has sadly surfaced in modern British life.

Beautifully written and gifting some cracking lines to Clarke and Thompson, the themes feel fresh and modern and Henry Golding is charming and the glue to holds the film together. As Tom, he’s the light at the end of the tunnel guiding Kate.

There’s a lot to like in this film – Emma Thompson, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Yeoh and Henry Golding relish delivering a witty script with great support throughout, George Michael’s music lifts and seduces and it’s London looking good in 2019. I’ll never look at Tiramisu the same way again but I really hope this film becomes a staple of Christmas movies that come around time and time again. Directed with a light touch by Paul Feig, Last Christmas charms, cheers and has a heart as big as a whale. It delivers what Christmas is all about in spades.

See Last Christmas in cinemas from 7 November.

Reviewed by Mike Hales.

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