Last Christmas Date Day

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Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding in a scene from the new holiday film Last Christmas
(Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

I’m presently rocking out to George Michael’s “I’m Your Man.” I was recently reminded of how much I truly enjoyed Michael’s music this past weekend, when my husband and I went to Broadway Mall for “Date Day.” While I understand that it’s often referred to as “Date Night,” Hubby and I are usually unable to keep our eyes open past 7 p.m. Ah, the joys of getting up early for work.
My husband and I were prepared to stay up a little longer than usual, as we celebrated 29 years of marriage. Christmas is our favorite holiday, so we decided to get into the spirit a little earlier than usual. We headed to Broadway Mall Multiplex to catch the latest UK holiday flick, Last Christmas to kick off the season. Yes, we are those people who play Christmas music in November.
It’s been a while since we’ve taken in a film, so it was easy to spot the differences in the theater’s lobby. It seemed more open and cleaner, and the pick-your-own candy section was painfully missing from the concession area. I stared wistfully at its absence as I recalled the days of bringing our daughter to catch some of her favorite TV characters on the big screen. We often selected chewy candies, since she wasn’t a fan of chocolate. Her little white paper bag was filled with sour cherry gummies and some sort of candy with red and violet nonpareils atop a gumdrop that was supposed to look like a raspberry. I sighed as I turned my attention back to my husband, who was discussing prices of popcorn with the sales associate behind the counter. After shelling out a small fortune (a small popcorn is now over $5), we scurried down the steps to find our seats.

Last Christmas, which stars Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, is an adorable romantic comedy about a young woman named Kate (Clarke) who makes all the wrong choices in her life. She works as an elf in a shop that sells quirky Christmas decorations year-round. When Kate meets Tom, a young man who seems to pop into her life when she’s at her lowest, her life begins to change for the better. Last Christmas is a sweet film that has a twist at the end that you won’t forget. It’s also set during the Christmas season, which got us inspired for the upcoming holiday. I’ll admit that I shed a few tears before the film’s end.

One of my favorite parts of the movie was the soundtrack. George Michael’s music was interspersed throughout the film in a manner that perfectly fit the moment. This was an intentional move by the producer, David Livingstone, which resulted in sheer musical perfection. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s interview with Livingstone at the premiere of the film last month, the script was intended to be written by Emma Thompson in 2016 at the request of George Michael himself. However, when GM passed away on Christmas that year, the script and the ideas were shelved temporarily.

Sometime in 2018, Michael’s manager reached out to Livingstone to bring the project back to life. Livingstone contacted Emma Thompson, who wrote the script. Thompson also has the role of Clarke’s overbearing mama. The film features 15 of George Michael’s well-known hits and deep track cuts, three of which were tracks from Michael’s Wham! days. It’s as though George himself inspired the film from the great beyond.

After the film, Hubby and I celebrated with an early dinner at Snaps Restaurant in Wantagh. We discussed the movie further, and talked about decorating the house before Thanksgiving, which I felt was a bit much. However, the movie hadn’t fallen flat in the inspiration department. Last Christmas motivated me to dig out some of my old music from the 1980’s. I even added a George Michael station to my Pandora app. I mean, if you’re gonna do it, do it right, right? (And now I’m singing it, too.)

Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.

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