Last Christmas review: "Save your Christmas dosh for something special"

(Image: © Universal)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

A so-so Christmas romance undercut by some baffling choices, musically and narratively. A wasted opportunity.

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Loosely inspired by Wham!’s perennially popular 1984 hit, Last Christmas casts Emilia Clarke as a down-on-her-luck Christmas shop elf, with Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) as her charming-stranger love interest. Their romance plays out in a twinkly London so Richard Curtis-esque you keep expecting it to cut to Hugh Grant in No 10. 

Aspiring singer Kate (Clarke) has her ambitions constantly thwarted, often by self-sabotage. Luckily, Golding’s on hand to espouse the benefits of good deeds. 

Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) gets a few more acerbic laughs than you’d expect from such a fluffy-sounding premise, with co-writer/ star Emma Thompson giving herself the biggest chuckles. Clarke is very easy to like and also handles a couple of emotional moments effectively, but a few major problems drag the film to turkey territory. 

For one thing, there are inescapable and unflattering parallels with TV’s superlative Fleabag, particularly in the sisterly relationship. It falls between stools musically, too: it’s not a full-on jukebox musical, but there’s too much George Michael for a standard Christmas romance. Sticking to the title track would’ve jarred less. Save your Christmas dosh for something special.

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Matt Maytum
Deputy Editor, Total Film

I'm the Deputy Editor at Total Film magazine, looking after the long-form features there, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.