Review: Last Christmas - Ignore the critics, I laughed and cried and went home and downloaded some George Michael tunes

Last Christmas is out in cinemas now

Last Christmas is out in cinemas now - Credit: Archant

The critics have described Last Christmas as: “bad” (Mark Kermode) “neither romantic or funny” (New York Post) “worst film of the year” (The Guardian) “wince-making” (The Telegraph).

So why am I recommending that you ignore the critics and part with your hard-earned cash to watch a film that has been so widely panned?

Because, there is a huge difference between the professional judgement of critics and the ordinary cinema-goer who just wants to escape for a few hours with a bucket of popcorn.

Last Christmas is light-hearted and funny, and goodness knows we all need a little distance from the more serious issues looming on the world stage right now.

Last Christmas will never be up there on the list of top festive films, but on the night I went to see the film, people were laughing out loud all through the film. It was a damp, cold Wednesday evening in St Neots and me and my fellow cinema-goers had a laugh. I have to say, I was surprised at the depth of the criticism, but critics have a job to do, people who watch films are mostly prepared to suspend reality and just enjoy the film.

Emma Thompson (who also produced) is wonderful as a former Yugoslavian refugee and provides most of the laughs in the film.

Emilia Clarke, casts off most of her Games of Thrones glamour, instead we have a depressed and vulnerable young woman who is struggling to find her place in the world.

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She is a huge George Michael fan and the film serves as a timely reminder of the man's genius. Last Christmas, best Christmas song ever?

Henry Golding plays her love interest and as this film is most likely to appeal to a female audience I have no hesitation in saying the fella is gorgeous and well worth the ticket price.

On the downside, the plot is clunky and full of holes and the film's attempt to deal with some fairly hefty issues, homelessness, Brexit and even racism, is poor. It's almost as if someone wrote the story and then decided it needed a sprinkling of current affairs and dropped in a couple of extra scenes to support their chosen themes. The dialogue is poorly constructed and often totally unbelievable.

But the huge and overwhelming upside of this film is its gentleness. It doesn't test, it doesn't challenge and it makes you want to go home and give your family a great big Christmas hug. And surely, that is the job of any Christmas film.