Emma Thompson

The Twelve Dames of Christmas, part two.

Right, before we start, the MB Zingers I mentioned yesterday (but crucially, wrote about before I tried them) were ok. A bit sweet. The kids liked the non-alcoholic version more than the adults liked the alcoholic ones.

Anyway.

For a long time, the most obvious Emma Thompson/Christmas connection was her receiving a Joni Mitchell cd instead of a necklace in Love Actually. Well, not her, the character she was playing, but you know what I mean. It’s a well acted scene but, imo, not enough is made of the fact that she would already own the album and her husband would know this. I have never really decided whether it was Alan Rickman’s character or Richard Curtis who didn’t quite grasp what being a fan of a band involves but either way (like a lot of the film) I found it a bit troubling. Not as problematic as the whole Colin Firth/Lúcia Moniz plotline, or the stalker with the signs, obviously, but still…

However.

2019 saw the release of Last Christmas, co-written, co-starring and co-produced by Emma Thompson. It got a 46% on rotten tomatoes and the title of the film gives away the twist ending but, guess what, I like it. I think it’s a lot of fun. Is it the best film ever made? No. Are you the best film ever made? Well then.

Also, it might be the best film to watch on Christmas Eve ever made. Elf is more of a Christmas morning film. Die Hard is definitively a start-at-10pm-on-Christmas-Day film. Jingle All the Way is ideal for a lazy afternoon on a Sunday two weeks before Christmas. It’s A Wonderful Life is only suited for those times when you are emotionally strong enough to deal with the scenes that will break you no matter how many times you have watched them. Home Alone is a good start-of-the-Christmas-season film because it doesn’t lean too hard on its festive setting for plot points and Daniel Stern treading on glass baubles will set you up nicely for the cruel tricks the month of December may play on you (and John Candy’s cameo will remind you that life is, for the most part, pretty darn good). The Muppets Christmas Carol can be watched at any time from the middle of November to the sixth of January. Iron Man 3 can be enjoyed all year round.

But Christmas films that work best on Christmas Eve? When you have had exactly one and a half glasses of sherry (my recommendation would be Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 12 Year Old Sweet Pedro Ximenez, thank me later). When you have had slightly too much tea, slightly too many Ferrero Rocher’s. When you are sleepy and comfy and full and you want something that isn’t going to mess with your mood too much. The only real competition for Last Christmas at that moment is The Holiday.

Don’t fight me on this guys. Don’t leave comments about how you find watching experimental horror films, or eight-hour dramas about the fall of communism in Poland, or Christopher Nolan movies on Christmas Eve helps you through the capitalist nightmare that Christmas has become in the 21st Century. You do you, yeah? But leave me out of it. Christmas Eve Movie Night is a time for three things and three things only: romance, comedy, and Michelle Yeoh running a Christmas decorations shop. The Holiday can offer two of those. Last Christmas gives you all three.