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Last Christmas

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Last Christmas Movie Poster Image
Musically inspired romcom has big heart; language, innuendo.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The key to happiness is helping others. Unplug and engage. Appreciate life. Addresses anti-immigrant sentiment (hate, xenophobia).

Positive Role Models & Representations

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

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." 

Sex

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.

Language

"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." 

Consumerism

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. 

What 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!

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4, 7, and 10 year old Written byAmanda N. November 9, 2019

Like a made for TV movie

The actors played their parts well but the movie was very slow. I saw In theaters but if I had been at home it’s a movie I wouldn’t have finished to be honest.... Continue reading
Adult Written byJillian C November 17, 2019

Completely mislabeled and poorly written

Last Christmas is being advertised as a romantic comedy. It has a few funny parts and some romance, but this is definitely NOT a romantic comedy. I would descri... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybookworm3284 November 12, 2019

Easily lovable Christmas Film will put you in the spirit.

This was such a fun Christmas Flick, destined to be a classic, but like always, the critics are always looking for a deeper meaning, and something that normal a... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byskaterthegater November 13, 2019

What's the story?

In LAST CHRISTMAS, we meet unlucky Londoner/aspiring singer Kate (Emilia Clarke), who's made many poor decisions, including taking a job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Her overbearing Yugoslavian immigrant mother, Petra (Emma Thompson), and her friends are worried about her, especially after a life-threatening illness. As the true Christmas season approaches, Kate keeps running into Tom (Henry Golding), a big-hearted volunteer who seems to inspire her to turn her life around. But she worries that he might be too good to be true.

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. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can discuss the connection between gratitude and happiness. Do people feel happier when they're helping others? Why?

  • How does Tom act with integrity and compassion? Why do you think he inspires Kate to be a better person and to appreciate life? 

  • Discuss the romantic comedy genre: How does this film stack up? Why do you think audiences are drawn to these kinds of films? What does Last Christmas tell us about love compared with other romcoms?

  • Talk about the diversity in the film: Do you think it's an accurate take on what you'd see in a major city? Why is representation in the media important?

  • The film was written around the music of George Michael. How does it compare with movies made using the music of other artists (like Blinded by the Light, Yesterday, Mamma Mia!, etc.)?

Movie details

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