Last Christmas (film)

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Last Christmas
Last Christmas poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Feig
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Starring
Music byTheodore Shapiro
CinematographyJohn Schwartzman
Edited byBrent White
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • 8 November 2019 (2019-11-08) (United States)
  • 15 November 2019 (2019-11-15) (United Kingdom)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$25–30 million[2][3]
Box office$121.6 million[2][4]

Last Christmas is a 2019 romantic comedy film directed by Paul Feig and written by Bryony Kimmings and Emma Thompson, who co-wrote the story with her husband, Greg Wise. Based on the song of the same name, and inspired by the music of George Michael, the film stars Emilia Clarke as a disillusioned Christmas store worker who forms a relationship with a mysterious man (Henry Golding) and begins to fall for him; Thompson and Michelle Yeoh also star.

Last Christmas was theatrically released in the United States on 8 November 2019 and in the United Kingdom on 15 November 2019 by Universal Pictures. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the performances and chemistry of Clarke and Golding but criticised the screenplay and plot twist. The film was a box office success, grossing $121 million worldwide. The 1980s Entertainment Center of the World appears as a closing logo.

Plot[edit]

Katarina "Kate", a young aspiring singer, works a dead-end job as an elf at a year-round Christmas shop in Central London, whose owner calls herself "Santa". She is homeless after being forced out by her flatmate. While at work, she notices a man outside staring upwards. She talks with him, learning that his name is Tom.

After an unsuccessful singing audition, Kate sees Tom again and they go for a walk, where he charms her with his unusual observations of London. Upon isolating herself from her oldest friend, Kate is forced to return to her parents' home. Yugoslavian immigrants, her mother, Petra, suffers from depression and her father, a former lawyer, works as a minicab driver as he can not afford to retrain to practice law in the United Kingdom. Kate feels suffocated by her mother, who dotes on her while ignoring Kate's sister, Marta, a successful lawyer.

Kate begins spending more time with Tom, who rides a bike and volunteers at a homeless shelter, which she initially mocks. Looking for Tom, who says he keeps his phone in a cupboard and often disappears for days at a time, she begins helping at the shelter in the hope of running into him, but finds that the staff has never met him.

While celebrating Marta's promotion, Kate spitefully outs Marta, a lesbian. She then runs into Tom, who takes her back to his apartment. Kate reveals that, a year earlier, she was seriously ill and had to have a heart transplant. Kate says she feels half dead and questions whether she has the talent to make it as a performer. After opening up to Tom, Kate tries to initiate sex, but he declines.

After spending the night with Tom, Kate begins taking small steps to improve her life; taking care of her body, setting up Santa with a Danish man who loves Christmas as much as she does, apologising to Marta and her girlfriend, and singing Christmas songs to busk for money for the shelter. After a few days she runs into Tom again, who says he has something important to tell her, but she preemptively asserts he is fearful of commitment, and walks away.

Kate continues to try to do good in her daily life. Finally, wanting to make amends with Tom, she returns to his apartment only to meet an estate agent who is holding viewings. After some initial confusion about who owns the flat, he reveals that the previous owner was killed in a bicycle accident last Christmas and the place has been vacant during the probate process. Finding his phone in the cupboard, Kate realises that Tom was the organ donor whose heart she received, and that all their interactions were hallucinations. Going to a small garden, which was Tom's favourite place, Kate encounters him again where he says his heart will always belong to her. The bench on which they sat during their first trip to the garden is revealed to be a memorial bench for Tom.

For Christmas, Kate organises a show utilizing the talents of the people at the shelter and inviting all of her friends and family, including the newly coupled Santa and Danish man. Kate delicately performs a solo of the Wham! song, "Last Christmas," intertwined with flashbacks of her so-called "encounters" with Tom until revelry ensues when the curtain rises and she is joined by the band of performers. Later, Kate and the family celebrate Christmas together joined by Alba, Marta's girlfriend, for the first time.

The Christmas celebration fades out and a bright light transitions to a summer scene where a visibly healthier Kate is seen writing in her journal in the garden to which Tom introduced her. Smiling and visibly happy, Kate looks up, as Tom always advised.

Cast[edit]

In addition, Madison Ingoldsby and Lucy Miller portray the young Kate and Marta, respectively. Andrew Ridgeley, from the duo Wham!, whose song "Last Christmas" is instrumental to the plot, makes a cameo appearance in the audience at the end of the film.

Production[edit]

In September 2018, it was reported that Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding would star in a London-set romantic comedy taking place at Christmas, titled Last Christmas. Paul Feig was set to direct, with Emma Thompson co-writing the screenplay.[5] In October, it was announced that Thompson would star as well, and that the film would feature the music of the late singer George Michael, including "Last Christmas", and previously unreleased tracks.[6] In November 2018, Michelle Yeoh joined the cast of the film.[7]

Last Christmas was filmed from 26 November 2018 to February 2019.[8][9] Filming locations included Piccadilly Circus, the Strand, Regent Street, the Thames Embankment, Covent Garden (where the Christmas shop is located), West London Film Studios, St Marylebone Parish Church and the Phoenix Garden.[10][11]

On 31 October 2019, Thompson and Wise published a collection of personal essays about the meaning of Christmas in a book also called Last Christmas. Contributors include Andy Serkis, Caitlin Moran, Olivia Colman and Emily Watson. The profits from the book went to two charities, Crisis and The Refugee Council.[12]

Music[edit]

The musical score was composed by Theodore Shapiro. Back Lot Music has released the film score.[13]

An official soundtrack album was released by Sony Music on CD, two-disc vinyl, and digital formats on 8 November 2019.[14] The album contains 14 Wham! and solo George Michael songs, as well as a previously unreleased song originally completed in 2015 titled "This Is How (We Want You to Get High)".[15] The soundtrack album debuted at number one on the UK Official Soundtrack Albums Chart and at number 11 on the UK Albums Chart on 15 November 2019.[16][17] It also entered the Australian Albums Chart at number seven,[18] the Irish Albums Chart, where it debuted at number 32, climbing to number 26 the following week, and at number 55 on the US Billboard 200.[19][20]

Release[edit]

In the United States, the film was due for release on 15 November 2019, but was moved up a week to 8 November.[21] It was released on 15 November 2019 in the United Kingdom.[22]

Home media[edit]

Last Christmas was released on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes on 21 January 2020, and the DVD and Blu-ray release date is set for 4 February 2020.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Last Christmas grossed $35.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $86.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $121.6 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, Last Christmas was released alongside Doctor Sleep, Midway, and Playing with Fire, and was projected to gross $13–19 million from 3,448 theaters in its opening weekend.[23] It made $4.1 million on its first day, including $575,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $11.6 million, finishing fourth, behind its fellow newcomers.[24] In its second weekend, the film grossed $6.7 million, finishing fifth.[25] The film took in $3 million during its third weekend, finishing ninth and losing 1,043 theaters.[26]

In the United Kingdom it debuted to £2.7 million, from 612 cinemas, finishing first.[27]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 46% based on 196 reviews, with an average rating of 5.38/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Likable leads, terrific behind-the-scenes talent, and an intriguing musical hook aren't enough to save Last Christmas from its poorly conceived story."[28] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 50 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[29] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 3 out of 5 stars.[24]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety gave the film a negative review and wrote, "It's twee, it's precious, it's forced. And it's light on true romance, maybe because the movie itself is a little too in love with itself."[30] John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter called it a misfire, however adding, "it earns some warm feelings for its determination not to be like anything else currently in circulation."[31] Alonso Duralde of TheWrap compared the film to a Christmas album, and said it was not as good as Paul Feig's best work, though "it fulfills a craving for sticky Christmas pudding."[32]

Charles Bramesco of The A.V. Club called the film "a guilty pleasure" but criticised the plot twist as predictable. He praised Clarke for her performance, saying "she succeeds in the only real meaningful test of rom-com skill, in that she makes us want her to be happy."[33]

David Fear of Rolling Stone described the film as "incredibly, shockingly, monumentally bad. The kind of bad that falls somewhere between finding a lump of coal in your stocking and discovering one painfully lodged in your rectum."[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Last Christmas". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Last Christmas (2019)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  3. ^ Mendelson, Scott (3 October 2019). "Box Office: Universal And The Respectable, Sustainable, Not Bad, Pretty Good Year". Forbes. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Last Christmas (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  5. ^ Rebecca Ford (18 September 2018). "Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding to Star in 'Last Christmas' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (26 October 2018). "Paul Feig's 'Last Christmas' Dated, Will Feature Unreleased George Michael Music". Variety.
  7. ^ Galuppo, Mia (28 November 2018). "Michelle Yeoh Joins Henry Golding in Paul Feig's 'Last Christmas' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  8. ^ Marc, Christopher (5 September 2018). "Emma Thompson/Paul Feig's Universal Holiday Comedy 'Last Christmas' Shoots November–February in London". Geeks Worldwide. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  9. ^ Feig, Paul (14 February 2019). "It's a wrap! We have officially finished production on #lastchristmasthemovie! (It's not like we crawled over the finish line or anything.) Huge love to our entire cast and crew. See you this Christmas! 🎄 ❤️". Instagram. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  10. ^ Lenker, Maureen Lee (17 July 2019). "Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding in love! Get a sneak peek at Last Christmas". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  11. ^ Edelbaum, Susannah (12 November 2019). "How Last Christmas Production Designer Gary Freeman Got the Rom-Com Look Right". Motion Picture Association of America. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  12. ^ Chandler, Mark (12 March 2019). "Emma Thompson and Greg Wise's charity Christmas essays to Quercus". The Bookseller. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Theodore Shapiro to Score Jay Roach's Roger Ailes Movie & Paul Feig's 'Last Christmas'". FilmMusicReporter. 14 December 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  14. ^ "'Last Christmas' Soundtrack Track List: See It Here". Billboard. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  15. ^ Savage, Mark (6 November 2019). "George Michael: Upbeat new song premieres on Radio 2". BBC. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Official Soundtrack Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  18. ^ "ARIA ALBUMS CHART" (PDF). ARIA Charts. 11 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  19. ^ "Official Irish Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. November 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard. November 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  21. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (19 April 2019). "Emilia Clarke & Henry Golding Romantic Comedy 'Last Christmas' Gets Release Date Shift – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  22. ^ "Last Christmas Release Info". IMDb. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (6 November 2019). "'Doctor Sleep' Eyes $25M-$30M Box Office Start, Will Turn Out Lights On 'Terminator: Dark Fate'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  24. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (10 November 2019). "How 'Doctor Sleep' Went Into A Coma At The B.O. With Dreary $14M+ Opening, Following Surprise $17M+ Attack By 'Midway' – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  25. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (17 November 2019). "'Ford v Ferrari' Cruising To $30M+, 'Charlie's Angels' Kicked Out Of Heaven With $8M+ Start". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  26. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (24 November 2019). "'Frozen 2' Thaws Frigid B.O. Marketplace With $130M+, Smashing November Animated Pic Opening Records". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  27. ^ "BFI Weekend Box Office 15/11/2019 - 17/11/2019". British Film Institute. 17 November 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  28. ^ "Last Christmas (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Last Christmas Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  30. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (6 November 2019). "Film Review: 'Last Christmas'". Variety (magazine).
  31. ^ DeFore, John (6 November 2019). "'Last Christmas': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  32. ^ Alonso Duralde (6 November 2019). "'Last Christmas' Film Review: Holiday Rom-Com Brings Cheer, If You're Feeling Charitable". TheWrap.
  33. ^ Charles Bramesco. "A coal-lump twist can't dampen the fleabaggy charms of Last Christmas". The A.V. Club.
  34. ^ Fear, David (6 November 2019). "'Last Christmas' Review: When Holiday Movies Go Very, Very Wrong". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 January 2020.

External links[edit]