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Last Christmas Needs to Figure out Its Messaging

Emilia Clarke as Kate in Last Christmas

**Full spoilers for Last Christmas ahead, but everyone figured out 90% of this movie from the trailer anyway.**

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When it comes to Hallmark-esque holiday movies, we normally know the deal, but when those movies have a wide cinematic release that we’re supposed to see as if we haven’t already figured out the plot, that’s when there’s a problem. And that’s my main issue with Last Christmas. The Emma Thompson-penned story features a twist no one saw coming (Brexit, not the dead boyfriend thing—we all saw that coming) and with it, nothing else made any sense.

Kate (Emilia Clarke) moved from Yugoslavia (now Croatia) to England with her family when she was a teen and was once very close with her mother and father. The reasoning stems from Kate being sick and, once she gets a heart transplant, she suddenly cannot stand being around her mother and won’t return her calls or deal with the doctor’s appointments she’s supposed to go to. But, by a twist of “fate,” Kate meets Tom outside her work.

Kate spent her life wanting to be a performer, but she ended up losing track of that by a) working in a year-round Christmas shop and b) getting sick, but now, through failed auditions, she realizes that maybe she just wants to bring the joy of song to others. She also loves George Michael a lot, but that’s never really explored, which is funny since the entire movie is set around his music, and yet we never really get into it.

Throughout her “relationship” with Tom, he seems to just appear randomly—you know, because he’s a ghost, and we’re all looking at this movie like yes, we know he’s dead. So, when it’s revealed that Kate was just walking around the city talking to herself and breaking into buildings, it leaves us with a lot of questions.

Here is the real kicker about this movie: Tom’s catchphrase is literally the meanest thing that anyone could do to a dead person. The entire movie, Tom keeps telling Kate to “look up”—a sweet sentiment if you think about how many of us are stuck living our lives through phones, but then Tom, when it is revealed he’s been dead this whole time and Kate’s new heart was once his, explains his death to her, and … it’s because he wasn’t looking and got hit by a bus.

Maybe the problem is that this movie is trying to be everything and ends up being nothing. It’s trying to give a nod to George Michael and the Christmas song we love to belt (“Last Christmas”) but never really gets into that, or Kate seeing the ghost of her heart donor, or the Brexit undertones throughout the movie. If you like Hallmark movies, great! Last Christmas is for you. I just had way too many questions after seeing it.

(image: Universal Pictures)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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