So anyone who knows me well, knows that I am always a little bit of a scrooge when it comes to Christmas. Bah-humbug. I’m a grinch. So it may be surprising to some that this blog post will contain my review of a Christmas movie, which I voluntarily went to see this weekend. I dragged Andy with me, who was indebted to me a movie of my choice as repayment in kind for a previous movie that he had made me watch. Hehe. My warning now is that this post will contain spoilers; so maybe read it after you’ve seen it? It’s up to you!
SPOILERS START HERE
The movie Last Christmas is presented as a romance that takes place during Christmas time… and it is… but it is also SO MUCH MORE. First of all, it is inspired by the music of George Michael which I think is absolutely brilliant and the use of his writing, lyrics and music was used beautifully throughout the film. I think he would have loved this concept. You start out meeting Kate (Caterina) who is, as the lady sitting next to me blurted out “such a hot mess”. You don’t really know why, other than a few brief mentions of her having missed doctors appointments and having been sick. It isn’t until well into an hour into the film that it is revealed that Kate (played fantastically by Emilia Clarke) is the recipient of a Heart Transplant. It is at this point that Kate reveals that she is such a mess because since the operation she has not felt like herself. While everyone is telling her how lucky to be alive she is and how grateful she should be, she feels lost and empty.
I won’t give away the rest of the main plot line, because I really would love for you all to see the movie and have the same reaction as everyone else did. I am fairly certain there was not a dry eye in the theater (including Andy who may or may not have gotten some dust in his eye) and I was full-on ugly girl crying. But you guys, I didn’t just love this film because the main story line has to do with a girl who gets a transplant. There were also sub-plots about how her immigrant parents had handled the situation and her strained relationship with her sister. Emma Thompson is wonderful as Kate’s overbearing mother who is struggling to find her place now that she is no longer getting all the attention from being the “sick girls mom” and Kate’s sister plays her role as the successful but struggling with feeling jealous sibling who is clearly grappling with some big emotions. Lydia Leonard, who plays her sister, did wonderfully in conveying the mixed emotions that can come with caring so much about someone that it is frustrating watching them struggle. Michelle Yeoh shines as Kate’s boss and pseudo-mother who helps her see joy again and who believes in her. Henry Golding was absolutely darling but I don’t want to say any more and give everything away!!
This movie felt very close to home. Although I did not see any similarities between Emma Thompson’s character and my own mother, I could identify with both Kate and her sister, having been the older sibling whose kid brother is sick as a child and gets all the attention. It’s hard not to be jealous. It’s hard not to feel like everything they do is selfish. The reality is… you can never know until you’ve walked in their shoes. And even now as an adult, and being in the position of needing a transplant, my story is very different from that of my brother.
On the whole, I would definitely recommend seeing this film. Take your tissues with you, because you are going to need it! It makes me very happy to see a portrayal of transplant that isn’t negative and does a magical job of honoring the donor story as well as exploring some of the emotions a patient can deal with as a transplant recipient. There is also a brilliant cameo by the incomparable Patti Lupone!