Last Christmas (2019): A Saccharine Car Crash of Colliding Good Intentions

Where to begin unpacking this strange, strange beast. First of all, does Paul Fieg even direct his camera at all? That seems to be the most annoying trend in contemporary blockbuster comedy, no one is making use of their camera to enhance their movie. I mean, at least there are pure black values in this movie which is at least a little bit stylish. I mean, in general, I think the problem is that this film about a young British girl, is directed by an old American man, because it just never, ever gets to grips with the thing that it is about. Its treatment of its main character is alien and distant and its view of London is tourist and voyeuristic. Everything about it feels wrong, which is a shame because its a funny if flawed screenplay, passed the 6 laugh test, and Emilia Clarke in this movie could charm the socks off a daddy long legs. The film just never has the empathy for its main character that’s required. It’s cold. 

That being said I was with the movie for most of it. I related to the story about a young, angry, struggling young woman learning to come to terms with her own issues that are destroying her relationships, and Emma Thompson always has an eye for brilliant supporting characters in her screenplays. Just, that twist, that twist, man. I just hated it. It makes no sense, it’s saccharine as all hell, and it just showed me how much the movie hadn’t done enough to make me have the goodwill towards it to forgive it that. Then the big homeless show that happens right after it just comes across as the middle class, self-congratulatory, back-patting wankery that it is, because the movie’d lost me, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. 

The movie is aiming for ‘Love Actually‘ but just has no idea how to handle itself in that way because the director of the film just has no idea what culture, and what strata of person, or even what generation he’s operating in. It’s a shame because we need more stories about women who are fucked up and messed up and have a lot of growing to do that doesn’t punish them, like I’ve seen this story about men so many times and it was refreshing to see this story here. Just, it’s done shit.

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