MOVIE REVIEW: Last Christmas

Kate (Emilia Clarke) is in a bad place. Stuck in a rut of bad decision-making, she is quickly losing the patience of her friends, family, and boss Santa (Michelle Yeoh) with every new selfish choice. But this film is a romantic comedy, set at Christmastime no less, and a change of heart is precisely what the doctor ordered. Right in the midst of some of her darkest days, Kate meets Tom (Henry Golding), a charming and adventurous wanderer who has thrown off the shackles of cell phone addiction and thus begins a new relationship that will challenge her and force her to confront the person she has become.

It shouldn’t be surprising that “Last Christmas” follows a pretty formulaic trajectory. What really sets apart films in this genre isn’t the plot, but rather the writing and cast chemistry, and it just so happens that those are two things “Last Christmas” does very well. Director Paul Feig is known for his comedies, and this may be the best of the bunch. Writers Emma Thompson, Bryony Kimmings, and Greg Wise infuse the film with some wonderfully hilarious dialogue throughout, while also touching on modern-day issues in London such as the effects of Brexit on immigrants and homelessness. Words are only as good as the actors delivering them, of course, and the entire cast of “Last Christmas” is up to the task. Clarke and Golding share a touching, slow-building romantic relationship that feels natural and is easy to root for, but the comedic chemistry between Clarke and Yeoh is definitely a highlight as well. Nearly every interaction between the two led to audience laughter, as did much of Emma Thompson’s work as Petra, Kate’s Yugoslavian mother. 

Another strength of the film is its use of music. Kate is a singer and superfan of George Michael, whose songs appear frequently, mixed in among various recognizable Christmas tunes. It makes for an incredibly enjoyable soundtrack that had audience members quietly singing along throughout. And while not as often-used as the songs, Theodore Shapiro’s score is aptly moving in the film’s most tender moments.

Despite its endearing story, there is one major event that occurs in “Last Christmas” which will be extremely divisive and could single-handedly break the film entirely for some moviegoers. If you’re able to roll with it, though, the film offers a charming and inspirational tale of learning to love others above self, and how that can change lives for the better.

“Last Christmas” is the kind of movie that will put a smile on your face, and it rings in the holiday season early this fall providing one of the sweetest rom-coms in years. Its brisk pacing, balance of emotionally touching moments with gut-busting comedy, fantastic cast chemistry, and sing-along worthy soundtrack make for a fun Christmas film that will be in many a family’s holiday movie rotation for years to come.

Rating:


Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on the emotional experience he has with a film. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.

Episode 190: When Harry Met Sally

This week we are celebrating a movie that turned 30 years old on July 21. Director Rob Reiner and writer Nora Ephron’s classic stands out as one of, if not THE definitive romantic comedy, inspiring countless others and remaining one of the pinnacle achievements of the genre to this date.

 

When Harry Met Sally Review – 0:02:32

The Connecting Point – 01:37:51

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Episode 189: About Time

For September’s Donor Pick, our Patrons chose this sweet Richard Curtis film about time travel. We enjoy discussing what makes this particular romcom unique and why we felt as deeply about the relationships around the central characters as we did the primary romance.

 

About Time Review – 0:01:19

The Connecting Point – 1:01:07

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MOVIE REVIEW: Official Secrets



 

Patrick “Patch” Hicks calls Little Rock, Arkansas home with his family of four (his wife, son and two pets). When he’s not podcasting, he works as a multimedia designer and is also dabbling in the art of writing and directing. You can find him floating around the web on Twitter, Facebook, and his home on the web, ThisIsPatch.com.

Episode 184: Varsity Blues

This week we enlist the help of listener J.B. Huffman to celebrate the start of football season by discussing one of our favorite movies featuring the sport, and our first of two episodes on films that adapted Buzz Bissinger’s best-selling book “Friday Night Lights.” There’s a lot more than just teenage antics going on in this film, and much of what it calls out about Texas HS football culture was ahead of its time. 

Varsity Blues Review – 0:03:14

Connecting Point – 1:24:13

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Episode 177: 10 Things I Hate About You

It may still be summer, but we’re going back to high school early. July’s donor pick has us discussing a favorite 90’s teen high school movie.

10 Things I Hate About You Review – 0:01:10

The Connecting Point – 0:52:58

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Episode 175: Pitch Perfect

This week we discuss a favorite film that bridges the gap between rom-com and musical so well, you could say it’s “pitch perfect”.

Pitch Perfect Review – 0:01:07

The Connecting Point – 1:07:26

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MOVIE REVIEW: Yesterday


Erynne Hundley is Seattle-based writer and film critic, currently writing and editing articles for Essentially Erynne and Feelin’ Film. She prides herself on crafting spoiler-free film reviews that balance franchise history, stylistic approach, script interpretation, and the emotional turmoil the final piece creates. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram for article updates.

Episode 170: Much Ado About Nothing

We tackle Joss Whedon’s famous secretly filmed modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic comedy. With dual romances, plenty of manipulation and deception, and a wealth of hilarity this fantastic cast gives us an enjoyable translation of The Bard’s work while speaking it word for word. Now away with haste and treat thine ears to the divine ramblings of two fools!

This week’s episode is a Premium Pick, which you can learn more about on our website here: http://feelinfilm.com/premium-picks/

 

Much Ado About Nothing Review – 0:01:47

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Episode 167: Aladdin (2019)

We discuss this month’s Disney live-action remake,the second out of three to be released in a 3.5 month window this spring/summer and out of four overall this year. Is Disney putting out quality content here that has a potential to win fan hearts, or is this just another shameless cash grab that capitalizes on nostalgia? Hear our positives, negatives, and recommendations for what might have made this work even better in this great conversation.

 

Aladdin Review – 0:01:13

The Connecting Point – 1:19:56


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