Growing up in former Yugoslavia, young Katarina was gifted with an angelic voice and envisioned herself as a future musical star. In 2017, almost two decades later, now 26-year-old Katarina (Emilia Clarke) lives in London having fled the civil war with her family.
Katarina prefers to be called Kate, and her life is in tatters. Her musical career hasn’t taken off, and she works as a shop assistant dressed as an elf in an all-year Christmas shop. Kate seeks distraction in meaningless, short-lived affairs, has been kicked out of her shared flat, and has even put off her most loyal friends with her erratic and chaotic lifestyle.
As Kate hits rock bottom, she meets mysterious Tom (Henry Golding). For the first time in a long while, she faces the trauma of her past, reconciles with her family, and gives up unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of herself and others.
Finding your place in life; searching for identity; experiencing joy and fulfilment through helping others; unconditional love and acceptance; grief and loss; surviving a life-threatening condition; fate
Last Christmas has some violence. For example, the movie is set around the time of the Brexit referendum. There’s one scene where a young man verbally assaults and threatens a foreign couple on a bus.
Last Christmas has some sexual references. For example:
- Kate seems to have regular one-night stands.
- Kate’s boss says to her, ‘All you think about is sex’.
- When she has to sleep in a makeshift spare room, Kate says, ‘This is going to be so good for my sex life!’
- Kate’s boss and Kate talk about whether they’ve had sex with their love interests yet.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Last Christmas shows some use of substances. For example:
- Kate drinks too much, even though she has recently had life-threatening health issues.
- Kate drinks by herself in a pub.
- Kate gets drunk, slurs her words, is unsteady on her feet, and gets emotional.
- Kate’s drinking isn’t glorified or normalised. It’s presented as problematic and as an unhealthy coping mechanism.
Nudity and sexual activity
Last Christmas has some suggested nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- It’s implied that Kate has frequent one-night stands.
- In one scene it looks like Kate is naked, although she’s fully covered by a blanket.
Last Christmas has frequent coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Last Christmas is a tear-jerking romantic comedy drama starring Emilia Clark, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson. It’s likely to appeal to families with older children who are fans of romance and drama, likeable anti-heroines, quirky characters, crude humour, big emotions, and the spirit of Christmas as a time of reflection and homecoming.
Because of its sexual references, coarse language and sad themes, Last Christmas isn’t suitable for children under 10 years. We also recommend parental guidance for children under 13 years.
The main messages from this movie are that life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect, that it’s OK not to be perfect, and that you need love and support in times of crisis.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include kindness, true love, trust, charity, self-reflection and tolerance. The movie also emphasises the importance of:
- seeing beyond someone’s outward flaws
- being prepared to show weakness
- evaluating and realistically reflecting on your goals
- making up for mistakes and apologising
- standing up for yourself
- finding happiness through helping others
- living a healthy life.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- organ donation
- reckless behaviour
- alcohol consumption as a coping mechanism.