It’s been a while since we’ve had a major Christmas movie that could become a perennial festive classic, but Paul Feig’s Last Christmas is looking to change that.
The first trailer for the rom-com, inspired by the Wham! classic and featuring the music of George Michael, landed today (August 14), and looks like your classic boy-meets-girl meet-cute tale.
But does the trailer hide a darker twist in plain sight?
The movie follows Kate (Emilia Clarke), a cynical and grumpy Londoner who works as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Into her life steps Tom (Henry Golding) who’s basically a saint, and he starts to break through Kate’s barriers as the two start up a festive romance.
It all seems pretty straightforward and very Richard Curtis-esque, but the trailer drops an unexpected element in Kate’s history.
“I’m a mess. I was really sick and I nearly died,” Kate says as we get flashback scenes of her in hospital. We don’t know why Kate was “really sick”, but could it be that Tom’s character is linked to her recovery?
Last Christmas is inspired by the Wham! classic of the same name, so let’s just get extremely literal with the opening line of that song: “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.”
Could it be that Tom is actually dead and he donated an organ (literally his heart) to save Kate’s life?
He then comes back into her life as a Christmas spirit of some kind as it’s clear that Kate hasn’t been making the most of her second chance (“but the very next day you gave it away”).
“This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special,” it continues, and sure, we have to stretch it a bit here, but what if Tom comes back into Kate’s life hoping that she can become that someone special.
This time, the heart won’t be literal, but metaphorical as the pair fall in love: “Once bitten and twice shy, I keep my distance, but you still catch my eye.”
And yeah, we have to ignore the fact that the protagonist in the song ends up meeting someone else. But go with us here. Feig could have a more romantic ending to the song’s story in the movie.
(Side note, the song also has a lyric: “I’m hiding from you and your soul of ice.” Maybe it’s all a Game of Thrones spin-off? Daenerys, the Ice Queen, is back!)
Throughout the trailer, Kate appears to always be bumping into Tom, rather than planning to meet up, so it could well be that he’s not really there.
He doesn’t interact with anyone else in the trailer, after all. You could say that the security guard at the ice rink is talking to Kate and Tom, but the guard only says, “You can’t be in here,” which could be referring only to Kate.
A later conversation in the trailer sees Kate say that she “accidentally” keeps bumping into him, but he replies: “It wasn’t accidental.”
And it wasn’t accidental because Tom is there as a kind of spirit of Christmas to make her see the error of her ways. It’s like A Christmas Carol, but more handsome and with added George Michael.
You could say that we’re reading way too much into a festive rom-com, and it’ll all turn out to be a traditional love story. But to paraphrase another George Michael classic, you gotta have faith (faith, faith).
Last Christmas is released in US cinemas on November 8 and UK cinemas on November 15.