Last Christmas (2019)
Release Date: 8 Nov 2019
Runtime: 103 Minutes
EVERY SPOILER ON THE PLANET RIGHT HERE!
Not really, but: You’ve Been Warned!
IMDb synopsis: Kate is a young woman subscribed to bad decisions. Her last date with disaster? That of having accepted to work as Santa’s elf for a department store. However, she meets Tom there. Her life takes a new turn. For Kate, it seems too good to be true.
Emma Thompson first started working on this script in 2010. George Michael was part of the decision making process.
In an interview with EW, Thompson notes that she met George Michael several times while working on the script and he’d given the project his blessing. She never anticipated he’d pass away before it made it to the screen. “The entire journey of making this movie has been a paean to this lost, great talent,” she says.
A tie-in book occurred with the movie release. It is written by Emma Thompson and her husband Greg Wise. It includes essays regarding the meaning of Christmas. “Last Christmas: Memories of Christmases past – and hopes for future ones”. The book features contributions by Andy Serkis, Caitlin Moran, Olivia Colman and Emily Watson.
It is bittersweet as the movie is about a woman finding love during Christmas while dealing with a heart condition set to music by George Michael. George Michael died of a heart attack on Christmas Day.
This is Emma Thompson’s first Holiday-themed film since Love Actually (2003), also a comedy set in London.
The movie’s title comes from a song by WHAM!, an English pop duo consisting of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, formed in London in 1980. They became one of the most commercially successful pop acts of the 1980s, selling more than 30 million certified records worldwide from 1982 to 1986.
WHAM! donated all the royalties of the original song, Wham!: Last Christmas (1984), to Ethiopian famine relief.
“Last Christmas” has remained a popular Holiday classic. On December 24th 2018, it generated 7 million streams on Spotify, claiming the most streams in a single day for a song released in the 1980’s. The same year, the official video generated 65 million views on YouTube throughout the month of December.
I LOVE George Michael!
Emilia Clarke did her own singing in the film. Which is impressive.
In addition to the title being based on the George Michael written song “Wham!: Last Christmas (1984)”, songs by George Michael were used in the film including the unreleased “This Is How (We Want You To Get High)”, which he worked on in 2016.
Other songs featured in the movie (sung by George as well as the actors) include: “Heal The Pain”, “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”, “Faith”, “Waiting For That Day,” “Freedom ‘95” and “Praying For Time”.
Filmed on location in London. In order to avoid crowds interrupting filming, many scenes would start filming around 2AM at night.
In the movie, Kate suffers from a heart condition. Emilia Clarke is no stranger to life-threatening medical conditions. During the early seasons of Game of Thrones (in 2011 and 2013), she was struck by two separate brain aneurysms that nearly killed her.
During the scene where Kate’s father is driving her home in his cab, Emilia Clarke’s dragon tattoos can be briefly seen on her wrist. Emilia got the tattoos during the final season of Game of Thrones as an homage to her character.
That plot twist. You will hate it, or you will love it. There is no in-between. I am going on the record here by saying that Henry Golding will be forever compared to Patrick Swayze after this film!
Andrew Ridgeley (the “other” half of Wham!) can be seen among the crowd during the Christmas show.
Ridgeley, singing enthusiastically, is seen seated next to Greg Wise, Emma Thompson’s husband and co-writer, but “I didn’t recognize him when I first saw him,” she confesses. “We were thrilled to have him be a part of it.”
In a Screen Rant interview, Michelle Yeogh comments on her movie outfits: “There are certain designers that we know very well. Doing Last Christmas, we called on a very dear friend from Taiwan, her name is Madam Wang, and her brand name is Shiatzy Chen. It’s all the very Asian details that are there. Santa is proud of who she is. She’s not trying to forget her own culture, her ethnicity. She does want to blend in, but she doesn’t want to forget who she is. So she tries to bring it all together. So you see her with the Chinese brocade, but then she’ll throw on a boa scarf or something like that, which blends in the two. But the most important thing for Santa is her shop. It’s one of the most beautiful in the world. I mean… She will not allow the store to overshadow her; after all, she is the boss! So it becomes her stage. Everyday when she walks on is like a statement because she loves being there. She wants the people who come in and go, “Oh my God.” You know how you can get swept away? That is how she wanted her place to be. This magical place. It has to start from her. So that’s why. And Renee, our costume designer, is just brilliant. For me, the look of the character was important. I wanted the people to be drawn to Santa. It wasn’t just about her funny lines. It was her.”
So, this really wasn’t a recap as much as a “Trivia” and “Easter Eggy” kind of blog. It is too new to come out here with all the hardcore facts. I enjoyed the movie. It is not an “Oscar Contender” but it definitely is a heart-warming experience. I hope you watch it and enjoy it as much as Husband and I did. The movie was made extra special by seeing it with Husband. He is not a movie-goer, so to speak. So, for him to suggest seeing a movie while we were on a getaway AND to have enjoyed it – it was icing on the cake.
If you see it, let me know what you think!