Last Christmas - Bridget Jones sings Wham! If only.
I can see how, on paper, this Christmas-themed rom-com was a sure thing. Emma Thompson was co-writing and starring alongside two hot young actors, Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians). The wonderful Michelle Yeoh was along for the and the whole thing was directed by Paul Feig (2011’s Bridesmaids). Throw in a Covent Garden setting and you have the perfect recipe.
Critics have universally panned it. Audiences are loving it. So what do critics know?
I confess to having gone in with very, very low expectations. Most of them were met. The script is just awful and tries to be politically correct but fails, utterly. Brexit, racism, lesbianism, etc are all boxes to be ticked. Emma Thompson’s Yugoslavian accent is bad. We know Thompson can act. For the life of me, I have no idea what she was doing here. There is zero chemistry between the two romantic leads. And Michelle Yeoh’s character is called “Santa” - really? Throw in every cliché about homeless people and hey presto! It’s Last Christmas. The only thing that just about saves it is Emelia Clarke’s bubbly smile - that and she can hold a tune, just about.
So, the plot. Well, suffice to say the whole plot is based on the lyrics of Wham’s Last Christmas. When the story dropped hints of the upcoming twist, I thought, no, they are not going to do that. Surely not. They could not possibly go there - but they do. But do you know what? I cried. I bawled like a baby. And then for the obligatory Christmas concert at the end (check another box), I was blubbing. You would have to have a heart of stone not to feel something.
Quite why other tunes from George Michael’s songbook were included is beyond me. I found them distracting.
Have a glass of mulled wine and go see this. Bring some tissues because you will need them; not just for what I've mentioned already, but because of a small cameo at the end which melted my heart and told me that the producers were trying and they get an extra star for that.