Skip to main content

Cake's Christmas Takes on Last Christmas (Spoiler Movie Review), (2019)

Caila went to Meremac-STL for journalism and has been writing for most of her life.

Last Christmas Movie Poll (2019)

Last Christmas

The theatrical and promotional poster for the movie, Last Christmas.

The theatrical and promotional poster for the movie, Last Christmas.

Tis the Season to Be Jolly

Even though I figured that this movie would be pretty bad, I still wanted to see it as a major Game of Thrones fan. I like to keep up with what some of the actors are doing after the show, especially, my best friend in my head, Emilia Clarke! There is something so charming and genuine about her and her personality behind an amazing smile and expressive eyebrows! Even though her career is a bit flat outside of Game of Thrones, I still wanted to check in. It is the Christmas season and you could not go anywhere at the end of 2019 without seeing an ad for this film, because one of the biggest shows that has ever graced this planet, Game of Thrones, had just finished the same year.

Emilia stars in the movie as Katarina, or Kate, as she likes to be called, a 26-year-old aspiring singer, who works as a Christmas elf in an all-year-round Christmas novelty store in London. Her life has taken a turn for the worse after having a heart transplant the year prior. She is now toxic, selfish, and homeless because she does not want to go back home to her dysfunctional household. So, of course, she has to learn the meaning of Christmas and all that Christmas rom-com jazz! Let's dive in...

Kate Fries a Fish

Kate, irresponsibly blow-drying her hair next to water, fries her friend's fish and kills it.

Kate, irresponsibly blow-drying her hair next to water, fries her friend's fish and kills it.

Douche on the Loose

When we first meet Kate, it actually a pretty good scene in the movie. She's taken home from a bar by a stranger and wakes up the next morning in his bed. However, the man's girlfriend comes home early and kicks her out of their apartment. This is our first introduction to Kate's personality, and she clearly does not care about much, even yelling to the stars "Why is my life so sh*t?!" Typical toxic young woman unwilling to take accountability for any of her actions. As the movie goes on, Kate has lost places to stay and maybe even friends because of her bad luck, her selfishness, and her lack of good character. She's fried one of her friend's fish with a blow-dryer, she's set her friend's husbands model ship on fire, and finally crushed another paper model he was working on. These kinds of incidents lead to her getting kicked out of everywhere she goes. If not selfish, she's at least clumsy and uncaring. We get to see her lazy work ethic through the eyes of her dedicated boss, Santa, who runs the Christmas shop. Santa is one of the better characters in this movie and I actually like the back-and-forth honest dynamic she has with her employee.

We then meet Tom Webster outside of the Christmas shop. He is a handsome young man with a good spirit and good views on life. We instantly see this through their first interaction with one another and a bird. He's looking up in awe and she gets pooped on in the eye. Their lives are very different. However different they may be, Tom talks Kate into a stroll for a date and they connect. If you know that there is a twist in the movie or if you're good at guessing plots, then some things will stand out to you immediately about Tom. He's almost TOO charming, nobody else ever notices or interacts with him, he goes out of his way to not get in people's way, doesn't keep a cell phone on him at all, as it is apparently in a cupboard, and he has weird work hours. That alone should be enough to get you on the path of knowing where this is going to go.

Missing and Kissing

Kate and Tom have an emotional talk about life.

Kate and Tom have an emotional talk about life.

Life is Rough

Kate being homeless throughout the movie is sad and this, to me, was effective at making the statement of the economy if nothing else. She has a full-time job, seeks gigs for singing through auditions to become a singer, and still has nowhere to stay. She eats takeout every night while wandering the streets of London and running into Tom every now and then. Tom shows her some of his special places and things that he likes to do, like volunteering at the homeless shelter, taking time to just chill in a secret garden and more. However, whenever she needs Tom he's not really around, no one knows who he is, and he is hard to come by. Fishy, right!?

At some point in the middle of the movie, you kind of realize that it's just a day in the life of kind of film and not as much plot as it could be. Also, the movie throws in random themes throughout it. It's a good take on the hardships of life: just existing, health issues, dependency and responsibility, and growing up. I've had friends like Kate before, where they simply just need to grow up and focus. Although Kate has a bit more depth to her. After her heart transplant, she hasn't been the same. Her boss even says that she was a great employee before it. Her family is very dysfunctional. Her mother is high strung and stressed all the time about her, whom Kate thinks is only like this because she liked the attention she received from her daughter being ill. Her father was an aspiring lawyer, but now is a cab driver and is barely home because he doesn't want to be around his wife. Katarina's sister is an in the closet lesbian who has not come out to her family and is leading a double life, who Kate actually outted at the dinner table the first time they sit down for family dinner. This is Kate's final act of being a douche before it's time for her to clean up her act.

The Show Must Go On!

Kate turns her life around and puts on a Christmas show for the town and the homeless shelter!

Kate turns her life around and puts on a Christmas show for the town and the homeless shelter!

Turning Things Around

After not seeing him for days, Kate finally sees Tom and he takes her back to his apartment for a rest and talk. She reveals to him how crap her life feels and that she doesn't know what she's doing or where she's going. His response, to me, was another good moment for the film. He basically tells her that she shouldn't worry about those kinds of things. Just live and appreciate life... and to "Look Up!", as that was his catchphrase. They share a kiss and she goes back to her everyday life the next morning. Kate comes to learn that helping people and being more of an accountable adult is a better route for her life. She helps the homeless shelter by helping them raise money, feeding them and helping out around the shelter. She goes on a quick montage spree of righting her wrongs she's made throughout the film.

Within the last 20 minutes of the movie or so, she goes back to Tom's apartment only to discover that it is up for sale, meeting a real estate agent there. The agent gives her Tom's cell phone out of the cupboard, tells her that somebody with the last name of Webster, used to live there but he had passed away a year prior in a bicycling accident. Kate has instant flashbacks and memories from the day of her heart transplant surgery, realizing that Tom had never been there with her in the first place. Ever! From all the romantic things to squatting in an empty apartment. He was a donor, dying, and she was dying at the time and needed a new heart. It was his heart that was inside of her. To me, this was a way to say that she should use his heart to do good for herself and be a better person, but the message was lost in the sauce really badly through other themes.

Once she comes across Tom again in his secret garden, he tells her that his heart was going to be hers one way or another and to treat it well. They share one last kiss and he fades into a memory, essentially. Kate goes back to the shelter to put on a Christmas show for everyone in town and it goes over well with the audience, of course, and the movie ends with her sitting on the same secret garden bench with Tom's name written on it as a memorial, looking up about her life.

My Final Thoughts...

This movie is not something I would watch every year for Christmas. What it lacked in plot and creativity, it made up for in charm and realism. The characters, for the most part, come across as realistic, except for when they don't. The little details of the film help as well, like Kate only wearing a few outfits, the same coat, 1 pair of shoes the whole movie, and going through the motions of moving around a lot. The movie had a very likeable cast in its main stars, but I think the writing was pretty bad sometimes, especially with the plot.

The movie suffered from trying its hardest to tackle too many themes to its own detriment. There are themes of love, migration, racism, the economy, homelessness, the middle class, toxicity, responsibility, and more. That's a lot for an hour and 45min. Christmas movie. The movie also utilized the music of George Michael and WHAM! to no avail. It was almost pointless to have the music outside of the main song, 'Last Christmas (I Gave You My Heart). Although the song is the title of the film, it was so spot on to the plot that it was corny. Like yes, he gave her his heart last Christmas, but did it have to give it away in the trailers, stating the movie was based on the song? It was a bit much. However convoluted or silly the plot may have been, it was a charming movie, nonetheless, but not something that would become an instant Christmas classic.

This Movie is a... Diamond in the Rough.

Money, Money, MONEY!!!

The movie, Last Christmas, took about $30 million to make, overall. I wouldn't have thought that seeing the film, myself. It did not look cheap to me, but it did not look like it was worth $30mil though. Although it was a critical and commercial flop to critic and audiences, it still grossed more than double what it took to make the movie, at $123.4mil total at the box office. This is really good for this low of caliber of film and is a bit shocking as well, because the movie wasn't that great.

Actors, Actresses, and Production

The actors, actresses, and teams of production that went into making the 2019 Christmas movie, Last Christmas.

Actors/ActressesProduction TeamProduction Companies

Emilia Clarke

Paul Feig (Director and Producer)

Feigco Entertainment (Production Company)

Henry Golding

Emma Thompson (Screenplay Writer, Story Writer and Producer)

Perfect World Pictures (Production Company)

Emma Thompson

Bryony Kennings (Screenplay Writer)

Calamity Films (Production Company)

Michelle Yeoh

Greg Wise (Producer)

Universal Pictures (Distribution Company)

Patti LuPone

Jessie Henderson (Producer)

Lydia Leonard

David Livingston (Producer)

John Schwartzman (Cinematography)

Brent White (Editor)

Theodore Shapiro (Music)

"Last Christmas" by George Michael (Based on)

Where You Can Watch...

Where You Can Buy...

Related Articles