A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The key to happiness is helping others. Unplug and engage. Appreciate life. Addresses anti-immigrant sentiment (hate, xenophobia).
Positive Role Models
Tom is a positive force in Kate's and others' lives, helping them get through their daily struggles. London is a diverse city, and the movie reflects that, with characters representing a range of ethnicities, sexual orientations, disabilities, and nonstereotypical gender roles. Kate and her parents were refugees who immigrated to England. Homeless people are portrayed humanely.
Violence & Scariness
A fish is unintentionally electrocuted. An accident results in a trip to the hospital. Immigrants are hatefully told to "go back to where you came from."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kate is sexually assertive and has casual sex with men she meets in bars or via dating apps; one scene has her waking up in a man's bed, apparently naked under the covers. Mention of a woman who runs a brothel.
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"S--t" used frequently. Also, sexual terms like "d--k," "penis," "shag," "snog," "wanker." Plus variations of "hell," "damn," "crap," "bollocks," "tosser," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), and "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
Setting is at an actual touristy outdoor shopping mall in London. Stores seen in the background include Coach, Stuart Weitzman, and Simpsons.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Kate is a heavy drinker, and several scenes take place in a bar. A mother and her adult daughter bond by doing shots.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Last Christmas is a holiday romcom that centers on Kate (Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke), who survived a life-threatening illness and now shows signs of depression. She engages in reckless behavior -- drinking too much, acting irresponsibly, and hooking up for casual sex (nudity is implied in at least one scene) -- and is on the verge of being homeless. Her parents fled to England during Yugoslavia's civil war, and the movie addresses anti-immigrant sentiment. The film is quite diverse; characters represent a range of ethnicities, sexual orientations, disabilities, and nonstereotypical gender roles. There are also positive representations of a same-sex couple (a subplot involves them being forced out of the closet) and residents of a homeless shelter. The benefits of doing service work and unplugging to engage with the world around you are some of the film's messages. Swearing is mostly "s--t" and British sexual slang ("wanker," "shag," "snog"). Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) and Emma Thompson co-star, and the film heavily features music from George Michael and Wham! To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
British holiday romcoms are expected to deliver a little naughty and a whole lot of nice; Thompson's latest screenwriting effort does both, but the film doesn't twinkle as much as she does. Thompson came up with the story and wrote the script based around the music of her friend, the late George Michael. Thompson's voice is prominent; in fact, Kate's dialogue sizzles if you picture Thompson saying the lines rather than Clarke. Golding proves that he could easily play romantic heroes for the rest of his life, especially when he's channeling Cary Grant, as it seems he intentionally does here. Last Christmas is cute enough and delivers some surprises, but the scene stealer is unquestionably Thompson. She plays Petra with witty conviction, whether she's trying to understand the English translation of a dirty joke or singing Christmas dirges.
What's disappointing is that the film is based on a Captain Obvious-level pun. Happiness and sentimentality are delivered on a platter, along with rousing songs and a happy ending, but when the twist is revealed, tears will be shed -- and eyeballs will roll. You may not see it coming, but in the end it feels like the idea of the film came from two giggling teens. Entire TV networks are dedicated to churning out Christmas movies during the holidays, and cheese and corn are always the first two ingredients. But somehow it feels like one of the grand dames of British cinema should have offered something a little meatier.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.