Crikey, this is a weird film. A romantic comedy inspired by the ubiquitous Wham! tune Last Christmas is exactly the kind of thing that would usually end up in my worst-of-the-year pile.
So, why didn’t I hate it? The truth is, I love George Michael’s music, and I admire the nerve of a film that takes some of the oddest storytelling turns known to man and has also been described as an ‘anti-Brexit’ flick. No, really.
Emilia Clarke is Kate, a 26-year-old Christmas store elf living in London, but originally from former Yugoslavia. Kate’s life is a mess – she drinks too much, she constantly pushes people away, she never achieved her dream of becoming a professional singer, and she almost died of an illness last Christmas.
But fear not, because here comes a handsome, enigmatic stranger named Tom (Henry Golding), who always happens to be in the right place at the right time, and may just help Kate sort her life out.
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Listen, the jokes are second-rate, the central premise (a comedy based on George Michael songs) never takes off, and the big third-act twist (yes, there is a twist) is absolutely bonkers.
But there’s warmth in Emma Thompson’s screenplay, vibrancy in Paul Feig’s direction and an undeniable chemistry between Clarke and Golding.
It’s a fascinating mishap of a display, but one that held my attention in ways that better films haven’t this year. In a word? Grand.
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