Last Christmas (2019) ***

God, I am fighting with my urge to shit talk this movie right now. It’s lovely. It’s fine! It’s cute and Christmasy. Emilia Clarke radiates. Michelle Yeoh was showing her comedy chops before the world noticed her comedy chops. It has a nice message. It’s a romcom without wealth centered, which I always want.

Don’t shit talk the movie, Sara. It’s so nice.


Okay, first of all, I have seen Emilia Clarke play three (3) roles where men are fridged for her character development.

On one hand, nice. Way to be. Writers don’t fridge men nearly enough for the sake of a woman’s development.

On the other hand, two of these male characters weren’t played by white actors (Henry Golding here and Jason Momoa on Game of Thrones) and in the third (Me Before You) the hero’s disability is central to the story/identity.

I can’t get excited about misandry when it’s all…weird.

(Are you telling me I shouldn’t *ever* get excited about misandry? *Weird*.)

I think it would balance out if Emilia Clarke fridged four perfectly healthy white guys for her character development. Hey casting directors, agent, whoever needs to make this happen—could she like, fridge Chalamet or something?


Henry Golding shows up to look perfect and shiny and handsomely fix all of her problems. He is wisdom, he is grace, he is romantic but sexually nonthreatening. He’s been inside Emilia Clarke for a year and she didn’t have a clue until he appeared to deliver his Christmas message. “What if you DIDN’T drink our heart to death?”

Is it a happily ever after if they’ll be together for as long as this transplant holds out?


It’s really cute though! It ticks the boxes I want ticked for a romcom…almost completely.

There is a strong message about hope.

It’s also, critically, mostly about the woman (boys are gross).

Love heals! Love wins!

We have adorable secondary romance, there is suggestion of a better future for our heroine, the family is important.

It’s just.


I really don’t want anyone in the relationship to be dead. Okay???


Is Ghost a romcom?

Is an ending happy if we know the ghost gets what he wants and the woman moves on happily?

There is a lot to be said in defense of grief as an element of both Christmas movies and romances. In a long life, we should all be so lucky as to lose a great many loves, and grief is an ongoing process that accumulates as the years accrue.

Grief feels very much like love. It’s the hurting side of love—love that is lost and wandering.

Not all horror movies scare us; sometimes they’re just exciting. Not all romcoms have to make everything better; love can be intermingled with sadness, and that is healing for a lot of people.

I can say these things rationally, nodding along with myself as I type.

“Yes, of course, there’s no reason why Henry Golding shouldn’t be dead in this romcom,” I say reasonably.

And yet.


I like what I like and what I don’t like is this. At least, not on the first watch. I can imagine why other people might like it, but my grudge for the concept is strong, and I just didn’t enjoy watching it.

Part of the issue for me is probably the issue that attracted Emilia Clarke to the role. She’s got severe chronic health issues. A heroine with complicated medical trauma might be compelling for an actress who has had plenty her own.

For me, it’s more repelling. The song “Last Christmas” goes from being a happy romp to a haunting story literally about organs. I’m sitting around wondering if the movie when the movie is going to dump hospital scenes on me so I feel awful. Maybe I should have watched the movie in my therapist’s office?


Oh, but it’s so cute. I don’t think there’s anything *wrong* with it.

I really need my romantic couple to survive, though. Or I need a lot more fantasy/goth type elements to make the dying bit hot instead of sad. I don’t know! This isn’t hot. I just feel sad.

And personal preference isn’t any reason to shit talk a perfectly lovely movie.

Don’t shit talk the nice movie, Sara. Just give it three stars and move on.

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