I have been putting this off—so much to do, so little time, especially in December—but it is time to give a shoutout to Last Christmas (2019). Ask a group of men and women what their favourite Christmas movie is and chances are you will get very different answers. Many men will name Die Hard (1988) as a Christmas classic. Women are more likely to name Love Actually (2003). Most Christmas movies revolve around a man (or boy): It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, James Stewart), A Christmas Carol (1951, Alastair Sim), Die Hard (Bruce Willis), Scrooged (1988, Bill Murray), Home Alone (1990, Macaulay Culkin), The Santa Clause (1994, Tim Allen), Jingle All the Way (1996, Arnold Schwarzenegger), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000, Jim Carrey), Elf (2003, Will Ferrell), The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017, Dan Stevens), etc.
Very few Christmas movies revolve around women, and those that do have only been released recently. There is no long tradition in Hollywood of Christmas movies about a woman. Surprise, surprise. These ones do: The Holiday (2006, Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz), Noelle (2019, Anna Kendrick) and Last Christmas (2019). Although Little Women (2019) is not technically a Christmas movie it includes Christmas scenes and has the most to offer female viewers. Greta Gerwig wrote the screenplay for this version and directed it and I wrote about it earlier this year (SEE: post January 4, 2020).
Last Christmas is unique in that it revolves around one woman (Emilia Clarke). Not only that but there are several significant female characters (Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson, Lydia Leonard) and even women who have bit parts are named. It passes the Bechdel test in the first 10 minutes, and women speak throughout. It is also almost totally devoid of violence against women (VAW)—Clarke is shoved at one point—which cannot be said Die Hard (women’s lives are threatened). If you only have time for a couple of Christmas movies this year Last Christmas should be at the top of your list, right after Little Women. Emma Thompson and Bryony Kimmings wrote the screenplay and Thompson rarely (ever?) disappoints. If you think women matter then your movie picks should reflect that.
Copyright © 2020 Alline Cormier
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