Review: Last Christmas


Theatrical Movie Poster, Universal Pictures

On November 8, 2019, Universal Pictures released “Last Christmas,” a seasonal romance story of heartache and healing, which has grossed $16 million since its opening.

The film follows the story of Katarina, played by Emilia Clarke, as she struggles to find herself after immigrating as a young child and enduring a devastating illness. Soon, Katarina, or Kate as she prefers to be called, meets Tom Webster, a charming young man who seems just too good to be true, played by Henry Golding, and he convinces her to make smarter choices about her life and diet. 

“Last Christmas” focuses not on the relationship between Kate and Tom, but more on the journey Kate takes to find who she is and to make herself healthy. When we meet Kate, she is a selfish, cynical young adult working in a year-round Christmas shop, who refuses to be around her family or do anything if it doesn’t benefit her. While cleaning the shop windows, Kate spots a dashing man that we later find out is Tom. 

He encourages her to “look up” at the world around her, but also to “look up” to a brighter future ahead of her. At first, she brushes him off as a weirdo and vows to never see him again, but he just keeps showing up. As Kate begins to make sound decisions in her life, Tom begins to show up less, distressing Kate, even as she begins to repair broken relationships with family and friends. 

In the last half hour of the movie, the audience is hit with a major twist, explaining the sudden appearance of Tom and the immediate connection Kate feels to him. This heart-wrenching twist leaves the audience in shambles but gives clarity to many of the large plot points of the movie. In the end, Kate builds a beautiful life for herself, making healthy decisions and giving back to her community in ways she could never imagine.

The film was a refreshing change of pace from the average Christmas romance movie, subtly tackling political and social issues, and focusing more on the joy of Christmas and the giving spirit than the relationship between the two main characters. Despite the opinions of many critics, this is a heartwarming and beautifully written film that nearly everyone can enjoy.