Review: Last Night in Soho (2021)

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Directed by Edgar Wright and with a screenplay from Scottish screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, I was greatly anticipating seeing Last Night in Soho. Fascinated by the idea of a time travel film set in the 1960s, I couldn’t wait for it to be released in cinemas. 

The film’s leading actresses Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy both gave strong performances. McKenzie portrayed the character of Eloise incredibly well and I was very much able to relate to the awkward nature of her character, particularly in the scenes where she is struggling to fit in with her university peers. In fact, the girls who excluded her reminded me of those that I met at my own Freshers’ Week. I also loved how keen Eloise was on fashion, opting to wear a handmade dress for her first day of university as a fashion student. 

Taylor-Joy’s character, Sandy, meanwhile, was also a delight to watch. Taylor-Joy was great at portraying her as someone who oozed both mysteriousness and glamour; we as the audience can’t help but follow her every move, intrigued to find out exactly what has happened to the stunning beauty. 

Of course, as a big fan of the 1960s, the setting was a winner for me. The moment we enter 60s London we are transported to a time period far brighter and more exciting than our own. We get a glimpse of the fashion, the music, the poster for the latest Bond film… As a character remarks in the film, London in the 1960s must have felt like “the centre of the world”. 

Moreover, as a 1960s fashion enthusiast, the film’s wardrobe struck me with pure delight. The white coat, Sandy’s iconic light pink dress… all the outfits were simply dream-like. I particularly enjoyed the modern day vintage store scene – as someone who spends a lot of time in vintage stores, it was nice seeing one represented on screen! And who can deny the appeal of Eloise, walking through the streets of London in her 60s white coat, she looked as cool as anything! 

There were, however, some downsides to the film. As someone who struggles with mental health problems, there were parts of the film I found difficult to watch – including seeing Eloise labelled as a “mad” girl by the others. I also struggled to watch the scene where she has a breakdown in the library and almost stabs a fellow student – scenes like this are insensitive and arguably stigmatise those suffering from mental health problems. To conflate those with mental health struggles with violence is wholly inaccurate. 

Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the film, I felt there was an extra something missing from it. What that something was, I’m not quite sure – it just wasn’t enough to warrant a five star review. Hopefully, though, my four stars will still encourage potential viewers to head to their local cinema to give this film a try. Overall, the setting and the fashion were probably the main elements of the film that stood out for me. 

Speaking of fashion, coincidentally on the evening of writing this review, I found a vintage dress online that looks almost identical to the iconic one Sandy wore in the film. I am considering buying it… After all, it would be great to look as glamorous as Taylor-Joy’s Sandy! 

[Emilija Morrison – she/her – @emilijakatinas22]

[Image credit: IMDB]

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