‘Last Night in Soho’ shows how societal pressures can drive a woman mad

Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Sandie and Matt Smith as Jack in Edgar Wright’s LAST NIGHT IN SOHO
Parisa Taghizadeh / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

Hey, Hollywooders! What’s Good in the ‘Wood?

I went on opening day (October 29) to see Last Night in Soho, one of the many new movie releases out now in movie theaters. I took a look at theaters near me to compare movie showtimes and settled on going to the 4:25 p.m. movie showtime at the Showcase Cinemas theater near me.

Despite it being a Friday afternoon, the auditorium still had plenty of seats to choose from, and there was no line at the concession stand to buy movie theater popcorn and other snacks!

I had seen the teaser trailer for Last Night in Soho play before other movies that I’ve watched in theaters and knew that this was a must-see film. The trailer, which contains barely any dialogue and features Anya Taylor-Joy singing the ‘60s classic “Downtown,” is filled with vibrant scenes that quickly go sour and indicate that the film is a stirring thriller.

While I expected the movie to be good, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. One thing I especially enjoyed while watching the movie was how it transported me to both present-day and 1960s London with its beautiful shots and music. Upon leaving the theater, there was no doubt in my mind that Last Night in Soho was in the top 3 films I’ve seen this year.

At its core, Last Night in Soho is about the pressures that come along with chasing your dreams, especially if you’re a female-presenting individual. The film was definitely more horror-esque than I was anticipating, but I found that the frightening aspects of this film greatly contributed to its overall message.

Last Night in Soho’s leading ladies give haunting performances

Directed by Edgar Wright, Last Night in Soho features captivating performances from every character. Its cast includes Michael Ajao, Rita Tushingham, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg, and Terence Stamp. This marked the last film appearance of Diana Rigg, who passed away in September 2020.

The stars of the film, however, were Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy. The film centers around Thomasin McKenzie’s character, Ellie, who moves to London to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer. Upon meeting Ellie, the audience learns that her mother died after moving to London when Ellie was young and that Ellie strongly distrusts men.

Ellie’s character is instantly likable and the audience feels a deep sense of empathy for her as she starts this new chapter of her life. In London, Ellie rents a room in an apartment building that hasn’t been renovated since the ‘60s. When she goes to sleep her first night in the apartment, she experiences escapism at its finest: she is transported to London in the late ‘60s. This is where Ellie meets Anya Taylor-Joy’s character, Sandie.

Every night, Ellie lives through Sandie, a young woman who is trying to make it as a performer. Ellie slowly learns that Sandie is taken advantage of by Matt Smith’s character after she is promised that her dreams of being an entertainer will come true. It can be inferred that Ellie’s mom had a similar experience when she moved to London, which is what ultimately led to her death.


 
 
 
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Thomasin McKenzie and Anya-Taylor Joy both gave such convincing performances as their respective characters that you couldn’t help but root for them. One scene in particular that gave me chills was when Sandie was sitting in her dressing room and Ellie walked in to find her staring in the mirror, visibly upset. In this moment, Sandie realizes she is not living the life she hoped for, and this is the first time that Ellie becomes protective of her. Between the pressures of chasing her own dreams and watching Sandie waste away every night, a huge weight begins to lie on Ellie’s shoulders.

Last Night in Soho is a psychological thriller with a twist ending 

About 40 minutes into Last Night in Soho, the story takes a striking turn and audiences see how it grows into a horror/thriller from a film about a young woman chasing her dreams in a big city. The film ended up being much gorier than I had expected and there were some scenes where I felt I had to look away.

Overall, Last Night in Soho is about the exploitation of young women in the entertainment industry. It covers the trauma of being taken advantage of when one thinks that submission is the only way to accomplish their goals.

I found Last Night in Soho to be one of the most thought-provoking films I’ve ever seen. I walked out of the theater with so many theories about background information that was left out of the film, trying to connect the dots of the details that we didn’t see on screen.

I could have never predicted how Last Night in Soho ended. After many twists and turns, the audience receives answers to some of the questions that they’ve been wondering about throughout the entire film. While they may not be the most satisfying answers, they make the story even more powerful and emphasize the trauma that comes with being violated.

Last Night in Soho: What critics thought

Last Night in Soho first premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday, September 4 to favorable reviews. The Guardian’s Xan Brooks called Last Night in Soho “a gaudy time-travel romp” that is “thoroughly silly and stupidly enjoyable.”

In The New York Times review of Last Night in Soho, Jeannette Catsoulis wrote, “Nothing in Wright’s previous work quite prepared me for Last Night in Soho, its easy seductiveness and spikes of sophistication. Dissolving the border between present and past, fact and fantasy, the director (aided by the euphoric talents of the cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung) has produced some of the most dazzling imagery of his career.”

Want to know what others are saying about Last Night in Soho? Check out the Best Reactions to Movies Out Now. If you’re looking to head to the movie theater soon to see the film, check out our guide on how to do so safely!

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