Why Last Christmas is the best bad movie of the year (opinion)
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Last Christmas.
LAST CHRISTMAS HE LITERALLY GAVE HER HIS HEART!!!!!
Sorry for the all caps but I’m just still riding the high of seeing Last Christmas for the second time. Yes, you read that right, I’ve already driven to a movie theater and watched two hours of the new rom-com Last Christmas on two separate occasions. I know what you’re thinking. Well, yes, I need to get a life, but also, “Isn’t that movie supposed to be terrible?” You’re not wrong, as the reviews haven’t been kind to the film from director Paul Feig and co-writer/star Emma Thompson, and yet, I enjoyed the hell out of Last Christmas, which — in my mind — is officially the best bad movie of 2019.
To recap, Last Christmas stars Emilia Clarke as Kate, a young woman in London struggling to find purpose after a recent health scare. One day she meets cheery stranger Tom (Henry Golding), who has no phone and always happens to randomly show up on his bike at the perfect time. When not dealing with her tough boss (Michelle Yeoh) or tough mom (Thompson), Kate begins falling for Tom and even volunteering at a local homeless shelter that she thinks he also works at. But she soon learns that nothing about her time with Tom has been real — because he’s a ghost! This isn’t that big a surprise to most since it was pretty obvious from the trailer, but the second reveal is that he was killed in an accident last Christmas and his heart was given to someone in need of a transplant. Yep, Kate!! So last Christmas, he literally gave her his heart!!!
This was about the time in my first viewing experience that my friend Kara began punching me out of frustration and venting about how terrible it was that they did this. As she would later write, “’LAST CHRISTMAS, I GAVE YOU MY HEART’ LITERALLY?!?! Oh noooooooooOOOOOO NO gah, I cringe typing this.”
No offense to Kara, but my reaction was more like, “HAHAHAHA YESSSSS HAHAHA THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING THIS.” To further explain my complete and utter enjoyment, here are the 25 reasons I loved this beautiful disaster. And sorry, Emilia, but we’re going full spoilers.
1. It’s set in 2017
After starting in 1999 Yugoslavia (bold choice), the film jumps to 2017. Why 2017 and not the present? It sure seems like the only reason is so that, for some reason, they can have Brexit going on in the background. I’m actually starting to suspect that Thompson originally wrote a Brexit movie and could only get it made if it was set at Christmas and had George Michael music. And let’s not even go down the rabbit hole of the fact that if this is 2017 then the literal last Christmas was when Michael died…
2. Emma Thompson really wanted to do an accent
Wowza, she is really going for it. I’m 78 percent certain that she did the accent just so that she could say, “I will nail you to my dick.”
3. Kate is always dressed as an elf
She’s constantly dragging her suitcase around, which is just very unpractical, but then she rarely ever uses the contents inside said suitcase. And the one time she does change is just right out in public with only a ghost as cover.
4. A year-round Christmas store has two employees
This just seems like bad business, especially when one of the employees was recently very sick — and is terrible at her job.
5. Kate punches a fake reindeer
I have to assume Thompson was having her yearly Jingle All the Way rewatch and became inspired. Lesson for moviemakers: If you punch a reindeer, I will defend your movie.
6. This is cinema’s first meet-poop
We’ve seen plenty of meet-cutes, but, while I haven’t checked the records, I suspect that this is, in fact, the debut of the meet-bird poop.
7. Kate ignores all of the Tom warning signs
In this digital age it’s understandable to be intrigued by a guy who isn’t attached to his phone, but being completely oblivious to the existence of the global phenomenon that is Frozen is a step too far. That movie came out three years before he died! Let him go, girl!
8. It’s the longest Christmas season of all-time
I know every year that we seem to start celebrating earlier and earlier but this movie’s holiday has been going on for months.
9. Kate really thinks Santa’s name is Santa
Kate seems legitimately shocked that Santa’s (Yeoh) real name isn’t Santa. So maybe now I’m starting to see how she couldn’t identify a ghost.
10. Santa and Boy’s relationship is from another movie
Last Christmas is full of weird choices and the strange romance between Santa and her suitor might be chief among them.
11. The cop partners are from a third movie
Honestly, those cops and their back-and-forth was probably the only part that was meant to be funny and actually was.
12. No person at the homeless shelter was ever like, “Yo, lady, this Tom guy doesn’t work here”
Kate first shows up at the homeless shelter because she’s looking for Tom, who she believes volunteers there. She has multiple conversations about him and no one blinks an eye over his existence. Admittedly, I’ve never worked at a London church that functions as a homeless shelter for some of the world’s most talented performers, but I feel like I’d know if I had a dashing co-worker named Tom.
13. A sleepover changed Kate’s life
My underrated favorite scene is when she wakes up at Tom’s apartment and decides that she’s going to change her life. How do we know? Because she goes and buys a smoothie! Yes, the scene is just her getting a smoothie. “Look, she’s now taking care of herself!!” And that sets up my second favorite scene, where she’s sitting at a bar with an empty glass and a man tries to buy her another drink but she says she doesn’t need another. “I really don’t,” she proudly states. (See, in case you didn’t notice earlier, she’s really taking care of herself!!)
14. THEY MADE THE SONG BE THE EXACT PLOT
YES, YES THEY DID AND I’M SO THANKFUL.
15. They really gave away the twist in the trailer
After the release of the first trailer, it seemed almost too obvious that this would be the twist. Or maybe not to everyone, since right as the location of Tom’s phone was shown and the reveal was about to be served up, a lady behind me in my second screening gasped, “Shut up.” So that means they’ve got at least two satisfied customers!
16. Forget rom-com, this is a rom-supernatural thriller
Once the Tom twist was officially revealed, I had a million questions. Why was she seeing him? How did she know where his place was? Or where his phone was? Why was she carrying two pairs of ice skates home if she just got done ice skating with a ghost? And the only reasonable explanation I could come up with is that the supernatural was involved, like his heart was guiding her and controlling her. Or I guess she just looked up his info and then got partial amnesia? I don’t know the answer, and I’m not sure anyone with Last Christmas does either.
17. She handles this ghost news remarkably well
Yes, when the realtor at Tom’s apartment finds his phone in a cupboard, prompting her big realization, she dropped to the floor in complete shock, but then was able to leave of her own accord and go put together the world’s greatest homeless talent show in two weeks. Personally, I’d probably need at least another week to recover. Now that I think of it, I should check EW’s policy on ghost-twist time off, just in case.
18. Kate isn’t the only one seeing dead people
Okay, I get it, she was seeing this ghost because she had his heart and we were seeing him through her eyes. That is until she falls asleep at his apartment and we see him act concerned about the situation. But how? Did he also give us organs? Is this a Will Smith in Seven Pounds meets Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense situation?!
19. His heart was always going to be hers?
Upon learning the truth about Tom, Kate runs to his bench, which is dedicated to him because he died. How did she not see that, or did she?! Anyway, Tom appears to her and they share an emotional exchange, with Tom declaring, “Take care of my heart…It was always going to be yours one way or another.” WAIT, WHAT?! But how though? Is he implying that they were destined to meet and fall in love if he hadn’t died? That situation seems unlikely, but it does seem very likely that I will laugh every time I think of that line.
20. IT’S ONLY CHRISTMAS EVE
Following the big reveal, the action jumps ahead two weeks to…Christmas Eve. How the hell is it only Christmas Eve? It should be at least Easter by now. Also, I feel like those two weeks would probably have been the most interesting period in the movie.
21. The realtor is at the talent show
The big Christmas Eve talent show brings out everyone, and I mean everyone. Literally any person who appeared in the movie shows up, including the realtor showing Tom’s old apartment who was present for Kate’s ghost-realization breakdown, and he seems to have even brought a friend with him. In recent days, I’ve enjoyed imaging the realtor inviting his friend to this event.
Realtor: “Hey, any plans on Christmas Eve? This girl invited me to a talent show at a homeless shelter.”
Friend: “Weird first date spot. Is she cute?”
Realtor: “She’s definitely cute. She’s got that vibe of an ex-party girl who has recently started taking care of herself.”
Friend: “Intriguing. So what’s her deal?”
Realtor: “Well, we met when she showed up at an apartment I was showing..”
Realtor: “And then I found a phone in a cupboard and she realized that it belonged to the owner of the house who died last Christmas and gave her his heart and now has been coming to her as a ghost and they’ve fallen in love. So she understandably collapsed, before rushing out. A few days later, she came back and brought me a smoothie to apologize and invited me to this talent show.”
Realtor: “So, you in?”
22. THEY REALLY DID THAT WITH THE SONG
They did, and I laughed so hard both times when we jumped from her learning that the ghost she was seeing was the man whose heart was given to her last Christmas to her singing the words, “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.” It might be cinema’s funniest moment of 2019. This song should forever be ruined for her, and, instead, she sings her heart out!
23. She doesn’t end up with the guy whose name I don’t think was ever mentioned
When Kate starts going to the homeless shelter, we’re introduced to Dan — who really nails the classic disapproving look — and his sidekick, whose name we never get as far as I can remember. Let’s call this nameless character “Not Tom” for these purposes. Everything done with Not Tom and everything I know about this movie screams that Not Tom should be Kate’s new, very much alive love interest, and they even exchange a romantic look and smile during her big final performance, and yet we get no resolution on their relationship, or his name. Maybe he should donate a kidney to her and he’d stand a chance.
24. There are three different endings
Live running diary of my thoughts in the film’s final moments:
“I’m very sad to have this experience end, but it makes sense that they’re going out with this big performance. Wait, they’re not? Did we really need this morning after scene? Oh, I guess Emma Thompson just really wanted to make a ‘lesbian pudding’ joke. So now we can end…Actually, no, we need to jump months ahead to see that Kate got a haircut and she’s journaling and looking up. Is that it? Are we getting a mid-credits scene teasing the sequel Careless Whisper in which Tom comes back to help Kate dance again?!”
25. Christmas will never be the same
I can’t wait to make my family watch this every single Christmas.