Sarina Bellissimo reviews Le Mans 66 and Last Christmas
Le Mans 66
With names like, Christian Bale, Matt Damon, director, James Mangold, and our very own Caitriona Balfe attached to a film called, Le Mans 66 (Ford v Ferrari to the rest of the world), you know that it is not going to be just a car racing film.
Based on a true story, this film tells the story of Ford’s desire to become a major player in the car world, to be seen as sexy and sleek as the famous Ferrari. When partnering with Enzo Ferrari isn’t an option, Henry Ford II decides to have his American motor company build the fastest car in the world and beat the Italians at their own game, at Le Mans 1966.
In order to make his dream a reality, the Ford Motor company enlist the services of Carol Shelby (Matt Damon), the first ever American to win the world famous 24 hour race. However when he insists on using Ken Miles (Christian Bale), the best in the business but not the most Ford man, the real battle begins.
This film is not just about Ford v Ferrari it is about friendship, love, two guys coming to the end of their careers and their determination to not end up as scrap metal in the junk yard.
James Mangold has assembled an all star cast to tell this extraordinary tale and they have all brought their A game. Both Bale and Damon bring a steely determination to their characters whilst also managing to let down their guard to show us their vulnerable side and create a gorgeous bromance; and Balfe, as Miles’ wife Mollie, brings much of the heart to the story.
The racing scenes are spectacular and will have you on the edge of your seat – this is definitely a film to watch on the biggest screen possible. That said, this film is not just for motor sport fans.
I was completely blown away by Le Mans 66 and did not feel the two and a half hours – they sped by. Le Mans 66 will have you feeling all of the emotions – from joy, to anger, to thrill and tears whilst being completely engrossed in and entertained by this spectacular film.
They’re calling this the Christmas movie of the decade. On paper, it has everything it takes to be that. Two charming leads in Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding (supported by the fabulous Emma Thompson (who also wrote this film) and Michelle Yeoh). It is set in London with a gorgeous Christmas background. Paul Feig (of Bridesmaids fame) directs it. And, if that’s not enough – its soundtrack is made up of Wham songs (with a never released George Michael single also making its debut).
The official film synopsis on imdb.com is, “Kate (Clarke) is a young woman subscribed to bad decisions. Her last date with disaster? That of having accepted to work as Santa's (Yeoh) elf for a department store. However, she meets Tom (Golding) there. Her life takes a new turn. For Kate, it seems too good to be true.”
So far this has everything going for it. What’s not to love?! It should jump up off the page and be one of those movies that you will turn to every Christmas. Unfortunately that is not the case.
Last Christmas just doesn’t work. It’s quite flat even though it tries so hard not be. It looks gorgeous; has the usual typical Christmas messages of being kind to one another and to yourself; there are chuckles along the way; and I actually really enjoyed “hanging out” with Kate and Tom. There was something missing though and the story just doesn’t kick off like it should.
The much talked about twist doesn’t help things either. I will not spoil it for you, I will just say, when it happened, instead of going with it, it jarred me.
As for the George Michael/Wham soundtrack, it is sprinkled throughout the film but this could have been better utilised.
I had such high hopes going into this film. I wanted to add it to my Christmas movie favourites list but unfortunately it’s no Christmas classic.