Warning: major spoilers for Last Christmas ahead.
When the trailer for the holiday rom-com Last Christmas dropped back in August 2019, Twitter immediately jumped into decoding it. This movie, most commenters contended, wasn’t just another romantic comedy. There was a secret hiding in plain sight — some darker, wilder twist that just had to be lurking under the surface. People combed through the lyrics to the titular George Michael song: “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.” Google searches for “Last Christmas ghost” and “Henry Golding ghost” skyrocketed.
From the chaos, a single theory coalesced.
It’s based on the song Last Christmas so all I can think is that he literally gave her his heart. Like she had a transplant and he’s definitely the ghost of her heart donor— Katie Pacek (@kpacek330) August 14, 2019
henry golding doesn't speak to anyone but emilia clarke in that trailer. he also wears the same outfit multiple times. therefore, he is a ghost, or her conscience, or her guardian angel.— alex (@alex_abads) August 14, 2019
If the twist in LAST CHRISTMAS really is that she has his transplanted heart, that inexplicably long and detailed trailer will have a lot to answer for.— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) August 14, 2019
If he turns out to be some sort of angel who doesn't hang around I'm gonna be so mad but also probably not because this is already one of my fave movies of all time— Robert Pattinson's French accent in The King (@JennaGuillaume) August 14, 2019
Last Christmas Henry Golding literally gave her his heart and now he's a ghost because he doesn't interact with anyone else in this trailer. https://t.co/41U22by7DM— Ang Ferraguto (@MagnaFarta) August 14, 2019
LAST CHRISTMAS: hey check out our rom-com --— A.Z. Louise, Gender Cactus ️ (@az_louise) August 14, 2019
Romancelandia: movie's haunted
LAST CHRISTMAS: what?
Romancelandia: *loading up a Kindle* movie's haunted
plot twist: she had a heart sickness and the guy was her heart donor and he's her guardian angel bc of that and that's why the song goes "last christmas i gave you my heart" https://t.co/r31wCZPNag— amy (@rlandsbindaclub) August 14, 2019
me thinking last christmas is gonna be a fun lighthearted romcom vs everyone in the comments saying the guy isn’t real and emilia is imagining him pic.twitter.com/GDDc07s5kt— lucy (@emiliasboob) August 14, 2019
Again, spoilers ahead. Last warning.
The Twitter interpretations were right, and Last Christmas does focus on a lyrics-inspired twist. The film’s protagonist, Kate (Emilia Clarke) has had a heart transplant. Her new crush, Tom (Henry Golding) only seems to interact with her, and not with any other people or physical objects. His apartment barely seems lived in. The cute homeless-shelter worker who’s clearly harboring a crush on Kate keeps getting more and more screen time, as if Golding was about to phase out of the picture.
Just as social media predicted, the twist coalesces when Kate goes to the apartment where she thinks Tom lives, only to discover it’s been on the market since last Christmas, when its previous owner was in a car accident. Yes, Tom literally ended up giving Kate his heart, via a transplant. All the time they’ve spent together, Kate has spent on her own. (So when they kissed, was she just open-mouthing thin air? They kiss once in public — was everyone cool with this?)
After realizing Tom isn’t real, Kate gets to share one last moment with him. She’s shockingly sanguine about it. (If I fell in love with the ghost of my organ donor, I would be freaking out.) As they hold hands, she asks why she can feel him, and he says he’s a part of her. To everyone who guessed that Henry Golding was dead, and that the lyrics were entirely literal, congratulations. But why doesn’t the movie follow the rest of the song, and have him taking his heart back from Kate to give it to someone special? Or will there eventually be a prequel called Christmas Before Last, where we see the previous year’s organ-donation, where his heart went to someone less special, who disappointed him and probably eventually had to die? Now there’s a cheery Christmas love story.