Film: ‘Last Christmas’ – a Yuletide travesty

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The most convenient option for my cinema trip this evening was the Odeon to see the festive film ‘Last Christmas’. Today is November 16th. I guess the film makers released the film so early as a cunning stunt – cash in on the holiday season in the run up to Christmas.

Expectations were not high – this was clearly a jolly English romp, about pictureesque London featuring posh people that appeals to Americans. ‘Love Actually’ for a new generation.

I was unprepared for the catclysmic horror of this film however. The screenplay – by none other than queen of the jolly hockey sticks Emma Thompson – was inspired by the Wham classic ‘Last Christmas’ – the biggest selling Christmas single never to reach number 1, having been kept off the pole position by ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ in 1984. That song is a classic – a cheesy romp with a video featuring the achingly heterosexual George Michael with his big, bouffant hair, pining over a female love interest over Christmas dinner on a snow-topped mountain.

The film is truly abysmal. Starring Emilia Clarke as Kate, a loathesome young woman who works as a Christmas elf in a year round Christmas shop owned by ‘Santa’ (Michelle Yeoh). She meets a man named Tom (Henry Golding) and a stop-start romance begins. To the soundtrack of George Michael.

Kate is a hateful individual – selfish, venal, stupid, greedy, inconsiderate. And badly dressed. She is one of those rare characters that can make leopardprint look boring. The problem is that she is meant to be lovable and quirky. The appalling manner in which she treats her friends, family, employer is intended to be zany and understandable, I suspect. It is not. She’s repellent. The grotesque green Christmas elf costume adds fuel to the fire.

Emma Thompson as her Croatian mother is amusing. Michelle Yeoh as her boss is entertaining. The film itself is a big lump of mouldy, rat infested cheese.

Luckily it only occasionally ventures into the truly offensive – particularly the manner in which the characters in the homeless shelter are played as quirky sidekicks.

I was hoping for a miserable ending for the vile heroine.  No such luck. In a direct rip-off of ‘Love Actually’ the finale is a sing-along Christmas show (which features a weather-beaten but still attractive Andrew Ridgely, probably inwardly cringing at what the makers of this cinematic excretion have done to George Michael’s legacy.)

What were the makers thinking? Emma Thompson is a talented writer – as witnessed by some of her other screenplays. How come nobody took her aside to tell her what a steaming pile of horse manure this script is. It pains me to say this – I am a fan of Emma Thompson.

‘Last Christmas’ is a yuletide log of a film. Said log is a festering, radioactive turd. George Michael deserves better than this.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

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