For 14 years we’ve watched Martine McCutcheon jump into Hugh Grant’s arms. We’ve sobbed into a tin of Quality Street as Emma Thompson discovered that necklace wasn’t for her, and we secretly hoped that knock at the door wouldn’t be a Jehovah’s Witness but someone as good looking as (but maybe less creepy than) Andrew Lincoln, declaring their love for us on giant note cards.
Love Actually, Richard Curtis’ name-any-star-and-they’re-in-it rom-com is a Christmas staple, as synonymous as mulled wine, tacky festive jumpers and Slade.
But as with every Christmas, last year’s gifts eventually become old news, and this year Love Actually is about to get usurped by Last Christmas – Paul Feig’s rom-com featuring a post-Game of Thrones Emilia Clarke.
Penned by Bryonny Williams and Thompson, who also stars as Clarke’s Russian mother, the film follows “bundle of bad decisions” Kate (Clarke), as she drinks “like a pirate” while navigating life as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop.
She bumps into courier Tom, played by Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding, who breaks down her boundaries as she opens up about her life-threatening illness and struggle with being “normal” as the duo heal each other through friendship, and you guessed it, an eventual romance.
Who hasn’t found themselves drinking too much at the weekend – or on weeknights – as they struggle to work out what it means to be a “normal” 20-something? Who hasn’t felt trapped in a job because they’re waiting for their actual career to start? Who hasn’t begged a mate for a room to avoid living back at home or because they can’t afford heart-stopping rents?
And be honest, even the most hardened cynics among us live in hope that just maybe they’ll meet someone IRL as opposed to swiping through endless pictures of possible spouses in selfies with their dogs.
Yes, Last Christmas still looks suitably soppy with clichéd encounters, cheesy lines and dollops of festive goodwill, but it’s Love Actually for millennials – and slightly more believable than falling in love with the Prime Minister and hot-footing it to Number 10.
It may not also boast a cast bulging with Colin Firth, Liam Neeson and Hugh Grant, but Michelle Yeoh, Sue Perkins and Fleabag’s Sian Clifford are not to be scoffed at.
And to top it all off the film is a poignant homage to George Michael, who died on Christmas Day 2016, featuring unheard tracks, and of course, Last Christmas, because what is Christmas without it?