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It’s kitsch, but Last Christmas is a feel good film which puts you in the mood for Christmas.
It’s the Christmas countdown and to get into the mood and to get over last week, daughter three and I headed to the cinema to see Last Christmas.
It’s based on the Wham! song, quite literally. It involves a woman who was given a new heart at Christmas. We meet the woman post-op when her life is in freefall. She works as an elf in a Christmas shop and wants to be a singer. So far so kitsch. In fact, the whole film, like the Christmas shop she works in, full of weird Christmas tat, is an exercise in kitsch. But somehow or other it works. At least it worked for me. Everyone I have since told the plot to has raised an eyebrow.
And just for good measure, there were some unexpected references to Brexit in the middle too. Emma Thompson plays the main character’s Croatian mother. The family fled the war in the former Yugoslavia and came to the UK. The mother fears she will be ‘sent home’ as a result of the referendum vote. Perhaps I was more attuned to this since not half an hour before the film started daughter three had asked me whether, given our family is half Spanish, we would need to leave the UK now that Brexit was definitely going ahead. She had been worrying about that since the election result.
Spoiler alert. The film ends with the main character finding out that the person she thinks she is in love with is actually the ghost of the person who donated his heart to her. I know, I know. It stretches the imagination just a tiny bit. Once the main character has recovered from the shock, she puts on a benefit for the homeless centre where he volunteered and sings – what else? – Last Christmas after a speech about the importance of helping each other.
Daughter three always gives me a glance at the end of any film and, sure enough, I was in tears. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was the times we live in. Perhaps it was the George Michael songs and the references to him all the way through. The little garden which features a lot in the film reminded me of the garden outside George Michael’s house, bedecked with flags and fairy lights, which we visited after his death. The heart donor died in December 2016 as George did and the theme of loss dominates his music. Even the Brexit touch seemed very apt – George’s family are Greek Cypriot. And the benefit at the end and its message recalled the concert George put on for nurses. Plus Andrew Ridgeley was in the audience.
OK, OK, I know I am horrendously sentimental when it comes to George Michael because he got me through some bad stuff. But I emerged feeling better about the world, about people and, in the midst of all this anger and vitriol, about the importance of being kind. And if you can’t be kitsch at Christmas, when can you be?