I honestly thought this was just George Michael trying to cash in on the current trend to make movies based loosely around an artist's greatest hits. We've had Rocketman and Yesterday, Mamma Mia and Blinded By The Light, why not take the good-awful Christmas favourite and turn it into a movie. Except... well, everyone knows the lyrics and it's painfully obvious what that movie is: open with happy Christmas, young couple, all puppy love, possibly even an engagement; cheating scene on New Years; tears; swearing off relationships; year of personal growth and bitterness; new man warms heart just in time for Christmas, brings back painful memories, but ultimately is "the one"; plus revenge on ex scene et voila. It's a bit been there, done that, but it's still all I was expecting, especially with two leads very much on their ascent within the Hollywood machine and a couple of experienced actors (Emma Thompson, Michelle Yeoh) just having some fun.
And to an extent, that's what Last Christmas delivers. You certainly get the full George Michael soundtrack! But layered on top is a story about a woman who literally gave away her heart due to an illness and ultimate heart transplant, falling in love with a man who turns out to be the ghost of the guy whose heart she now has. Yeah... it's a bit strange. It's also weirdly a bit too telegraphed. You get strong "something ain't adding up here" vibes about Tom, but obviously it could have been any one of a number of tropes: he's dying, he's married, he's gay, he's secretly really into BDSM and/or cannibalism. Y'know, normal romcom stuff. But then they systematically (and definitively) rule out all the options until you're left with "he's a ghost" being the slightly more realistic plot explanation, with "he's the world's best dressed homeless man" as the second.
Throughout all of which, you're also left with the slight mental gymnastics of watching Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name, Mother of Dragons etc. etc. be a clumsy, elf-costumed, British retail worker. Which isn't to knock Emilia Clarke, who does a really decent job of making you care about her quite unlikeable character long enough for the whole "romcom makeover magic" to start happening. It's just one of the many slightly surreal elements about the movie, is all. Like having Philippa Georgiou, the evil Star Trek antihero, as a Christmas-loving auntie who falls for a walking German (absolute deliberate) stereotype head-over-sequined-heels 😂
The result is one part George Michael advert (meh), one part knock-off Ghost, and one part weirdly fun, quirky comedy. It made me laugh, it made me tear up a bit, and as long as you give it a little bit of poetic license in the whole "major character turns out not to be real, but wait then how does that earlier scene work?" sense then it's not an awful way to spend a dreary winter evening.