In the year 1999 located at a church in Yugoslavia a young Katarina ‘Kate’ (Madison Ingoldsby) sings her heart out to her family and church goers. London, 2017, Kate (Emilia Clarke) is trying to make it on her own away from her family, mother Petra (Emma Thompson), father Ivan (Boris Isakovic) a mini cab driver and sister Marta (Lydia Leonard) a lawyer, while working at Yuletide for her boss Santa (Michelle Yeoh). Kate was never quite the successful one, a matter of fact if she did not have bad luck she would not have any luck at all.
But things started to change for Kate when she notices outside the store window a man looking up into the sky. Curious she walks out to see what he is doing but beyond looking at a bird Kate was interested in Tom (Henry Golding). They spoke, became friends and Tom introduced Kate to the giving side of happiness, getting in touch with her family, visiting the secret garden and helping out at a local homeless shelter. Yet it was one night when Tom took her to his apartment is when she showed him the heart surgery she had and the scar she received and hides under her clothes. I know the feeling personally of that scar and it took me years to show it, live with it and not be ashamed of it but I now know that it is a marked sign of survival on my body allowing me to live and change as Kate does, understanding we all have purpose in the time we are here.
There are several cliché holiday moments in the film but it is cute, enchanting and filled with spirit. I really enjoyed the George Michael music that is played throughout the story making me realize how much I miss his sound and the meaning behind so many of his words. The decorations throughout the streets of London are festive especially the store she works in as an elf. The falling snow is something that was always beautiful at least for a day then as it melts we all know the beauty fades away reminding me that nothing lasts forever. Oddly enough during the screening a man two rows behind me got up tried to walk then passed out on the floor right by myself, my friend April and niece Kayla. I believe in signs and what was happening on the screen was also happening in front of us in the theater, life. Overall I enjoyed this film , I laughed, I smiled and I cried a bit reminding me that life is filled with challenges and signs that we all need to pay attention too.
Clarke carries the film quite well with her clumsy but somewhat sweet demeanor. Golding who was in “Crazy Rich Asians” with Yeoh was not only attractive but heart-warming and Yeoh is a dreamer as well as a protector. Thompson and Isakovic are real and Leonard with her hidden life is finally revealed. Either way “Last Christmas” is worth the ticket, somewhat like a Hallmark film but slightly better. There are some animals in the film but none that really stand out except for the electrified fish.