Last Christmas makes you wish this Christmas would be the last

Maia Schwallie, co-opinions editor

As I sat down to watch the holiday romantic comedy Last Christmas, I was expecting a generic, feel-good, Hallmark- type of film. I was ready to watch an annoyingly peppy male protagonist spread Christmas spirit to his female counterpart and to leave the theater simply content with what I’ve seen. However, instead of messages about the beauty of the holidays, I was bombarded by the overwhelming insanity of Last Christmas’s plot line, it’s absurdity climaxing at the reveal of its poorly executed twist ending (spoilers ahead).

The film begins with Kate (Emilia Clarke), a depressed 20-something  who finds her job at a Christmas shop completely miserable. Her boss (Michelle Yeoh), who is named Santa for some reason, is constantly disappointed in Kate, pointing out a negative change in her character following a heart transplant surgery she received prior to the start of the film. Kate is a genuine mess throughout the entire movie. She’s essentially homeless, crashing at friends’ houses, drinking heavily, and engaging in random hookups all the time. But when Kate is scraping rock bottom, she runs into Tom (Henry Golding) on the street.

From the get go, we can tell there’s something off about Tom. With his manic pixie dream boy aura and his optimistic mission to make Kate “look up” and see the world, Tom prompts a suspicious feeling in the stomachs of most viewers.

However, Kate is not deterred by his Abercrombie model good looks, his night job at a homeless shelter, or his odd decision to lock his cell phone in a cupboard and she grows to be extremely dependent on him. They go ice skating, talk for hours in a garden, and kiss at his apartment.

At this point, the movie was a little rough but not totally unsalvageable. I chuckled a few times and the chemistry between Clarke and Golding was evident but not remarkable. A side plot about Kate’s family being refugees and her sister being a closeted lesbian felt like a forced and  misdirected attempt to be politically correct, but at least I could appreciate the effort.

However, Last Christmas made a decision that can only be described as the worst choice in cinematic history. Coupling Kate’s history of heart problems with Wham!’s “Last Christmas, ” the lyrics of this Christmas classic were taken very literally.

Yes, that’s right, we find out that Tom is not a young man with perfect genes and a knack for helping out the homeless, he is the heart donor who literally gave Kate his heart. Meaning he was dead the entire film. I am still in awe.

Let me break this down, Kate finds out that the boy she is in love with, talked to countless times, and even kissed, existed only in her head. Kate should probably have seen her visions of Tom as a sign that she should seek medical help, and if the film had taken this self-help route I would have been okay with this uncalled for plot twist. At least there would have been a positive message associated with all this madness.

But no, Kate instead forgets her hallucinations and decides to go to a homeless shelter and put on a Christmas show with its residents. And, of course, she sings  “Last Christmas.”

What bothered me most about the twist was that there was no point to it. Kate didn’t learn anything new about how to live a healthy life or even how to be happy. She had a few months of concerning visions and then went on with life.

The plot of Last Christmas was genuinely terrible but I can’t deny that it was also entertaining. I couldn’t help but laugh at Santa calling her boyfriend “boy” the entire movie because she forgot his real name, or how Kate somehow knew where Tom’s apartment was and how to get inside even though Tom was too dead to let her in. It was all so absurd and fraught with plot holes that I had to just relish in the beauty of Last Christmas’s insanity.

Last Christmas was weird, but I have to say its plethora of oddities was thrillingly enjoyable. It was one of those movies where it’s so bad that it’s actually good and I truly commend Last Christmas for going so above and beyond in that rare quality.