Film review: ‘Last Night in Soho’ is a fun 1960s romp

Performances by the two leading women are pitch-perfect


Sometimes a movie is just fun. Not perfect. Not groundbreaking. But so enjoyable that you might want to see it again.

That’s the case with director Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho.” As many of you know, Wright has a knack for making films that resonate with audiences. Along with “Shaun of the Dead,” he also has directed “Baby Driver” and the popular documentary “The Sparks Brothers,” among many others.

The latest is sort of a horror film, but it’s more of a mystery/thriller featuring fabulous clothes from Odile Dicks-Mireaux and a score from Oscar winner Steven Price.

“Soho” focuses on a young woman, Eloise, who leaves the British countryside for London to attend fashion school. She’s played with quirky humor by Thomasin McKenzie, who has also starred in “Leave No Trace” and “Jojo Rabbit” and will be featured in Jane Campion’s upcoming “The Power of the Dog.”

Once in London, she rents a room from a rather unfriendly landlady (Diana Rigg). And then strange things start to happen. When Eloise looks in the mirror, she doesn’t see herself. Instead, she sees Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a beautiful creature straight out of 1960s Soho.

Sandie is an aspiring singer, and she goes out at night dressed in a flowing pink gown and takes on the town like a pro. Eloise, meanwhile, sees herself as Sandie and goes along for the wild ride.

It’s as if Eloise is having visions that transport her back in the 1960s. And at first, it’s quite fun. But then events start to become more sinister.

Taylor-Joy’s Sandie finds a boyfriend and possible manager in Jack (Matt Smith). But he becomes manipulative and exploitive, as if he expects Sandie to turn tricks to get ahead.

Meanwhile, Sandie’s costumes inspire Eloise at design school, and she finds a friend in a fellow student played by Michael Ajao. He knows something strange is going on with Eloise, but she resists telling him about Sandie.

Both McKenzie and Taylor-Joy are excellent. McKenzie brings a naïveté to the role, an innocent among the sophisticated. And Taylor-Joy, who wowed us in “The Queen’s Gambit,” is a knockout as Sandie.

Two supporting actors also make marked impressions. First, there’s the classic Rigg as the landlady, and then there’s a silver-haired gentleman who seems to know about Eloise’s secret adventures. He’s played by Terence Stamp.

All of this adds up to a bit of campy fun, even if things get dark. “Last Night in Soho” is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Charles Ealy
Charles Ealy
Charles Ealy is a former movies editor for The Dallas Morning News and Austin American-Statesman.

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