Christmas. The season for candy-red, emerald green and cosy nights on the sofa, watching all the classic movies. And while you can never go wrong with Christmas classics like Elf or The Grinch, sometimes, a new tale of Christmastime is just what you want! In 2019, Last Christmas starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding was released. Since then, I have watched it an embarrassing amount of times. It is everything a classic Christmas movie needs to be and so much more. It has received some criticism but we all value different things! And so here are my five reasons why you should give Last Christmas a shot! *some spoilers ahead!*
The Magic of London at Christmastime
If you walk into any card shop around Christmastime, you’ll be greeted by a candy coloured assortment of glitter and snowy winter scenes. And you’ll no doubt see a few cards featuring the snowy London streets at wintertime with the iconic red telephone boxes and buses. London at Christmas is magic. The streets suddenly become illuminated by a million, twinkly lights. And if you watch Last Christmas, you won’t even have to go there to experience it. Throughout the film, you’re taken on a whirlwind tour of the most Christmassy places in London including Covent Garden.
The protagonist Kat, dressed as an elf, works as a shop assistant at a Christmas-themed trinket store which is quite literally a cacophony of all things Christmas. Kat spends time walking down Regent Street, as Christmas-shoppers pass by, as well as trying to keep up with Tom as he waltzes his way down the Embankment and they both experience a winter wonderland of their own in Phoenix Gardens with a sky of fairy lights above them. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the Christmastime beauty of London, Last Christmas is a must-watch.
Tom’s Look Up Mantra
As Tom and Kat’s relationship blossoms as they wander the streets of London together, Tom is constantly encouraging Kat to look up. He wants her to look and really see the world around her. The things she misses whilst she dwells on the negatives. It is so easy to focus on everything that stresses you out and think that there is no way of enjoying things. But Tom’s mantra serves to remind us that life is happening all around us when we’re looking down and that we just have to look up to experience it. And while it’s a literal request, to look up and see the things you miss when walking down the street, I think it can also be seen as a metaphor for moving forward. For not dwelling on the past, and the things you can’t change but rather looking to what is to come and finding comfort and beauty in it.
The fundamental takeaway from Last Christmas isn’t that Christmas is the best time of year – although it’s definitely in the top 3! At the heart of the story is the importance of self-love. Kat’s journey throughout the film sees her grow out of a cynical and self-destructive existence and begin to appreciate life and all its small joys. It serves as a great reminder that instead of letting life pass you by, living in the moment with the people you love most is the only truly valuable way to spend your time.
Although you may not be able to relate to Kat’s struggle with being ill, I think there’s a piece of each of us in her displacement during certain points in our lives. Feeling lonely and not knowing quite who we are. But as Tom reminds her, you need to make sure that before anything else, you are looking after yourself. Take care of yourself and find ways to make yourself happy on your own. You don’t have to have everything figured out to practice self-care but if you do, you’ll be sure to figure bits out on your way.
It’s Okay To Not Be Certain
In a world that moves so fast, with access to all of the achievements and milestones of everyone we know with just the click of a button, it can sometimes feel as though you’re not doing life right. Whether that be in terms of your relationship or your career or your social life. And with Kat, having to live on when she had come so close to death leaves her disorientated and scared. But as the film progresses, so too does her realisation thanks to Tom, that she doesn’t have to know everything that she wants to be and do. Tom tells her that we are all built of everything we do. When Kat despairs, asking who she is, he says “What’s wrong with not knowing, you know, being inconsistent? Just uncertain”. I think all too often we try to be the best me we can be when all we need to be is ourselves. To do the things that make us happy. And if you don’t know where you’re going next, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of uncertainty.
Navigating Family Relationships
Holidays can be a difficult time for people who find navigating family relationships complicated. Everyone has a different relationship with their parents and their siblings. At Christmas, these relationships can be the source of a lot of stress. The portrayal of the relationships in Last Christmas is refreshingly realistic. Although Kat clearly cares about her parents and sister, this doesn’t mean her mother never frustrates her. A touchingly realistic scene where Kat undermines her sister’s choices and consequently hurts her, because she feels as though she’s being attacked, acts to remind us that we are all human. We all have failings. We all act badly at times. But when it comes to family, no matter the season, we can always work to mend whatever we’ve damaged. We can always try to be a better sister, daughter, mother, father, son and so on.
Last Christmas is a heart-wrenching, funny and thought-provoking watch. If you love a romance storyline, this will be sure to not disappoint. But be warned, it may not be the kind of romance you would think! I hope you’ll add it to the long list of Christmas movies you have on your to-watch list. I’m sure it will make you laugh, cry and everything in between…and sing!