There aren’t too many movies I purposefully watch in theaters. I go maybe 3-5 times every year, and usually it’s only for movies I’ve been waiting on, anxious to see them. While seeing some other movie, I saw the trailer for Last Night in Soho, and it definitely piqued my interest. When it released a week before my birthday, I figured, why not check it out in theaters?
This movie came out in 2021, but it’s set partially in the 60s, more specifically in London. It actually goes back-and-forth between present-day London and the same spots, but decades earlier. That alone, along with the psychological thriller promise, was enough to convince me.
A few days after it came out, I made my way to the theaters with my fiance, uncertain what awaited us. Last Night in Soho had promised a thrilling, dark ride through the 60s, and it delivered on that promise, but with so much more.
The Main Character
This movie centers on one character in particular and follows her, solely. Eloise, a wanna-be fashion designer from the countryside, moves to London chasing her dreams and her mother’s ghost. The actress plays the role perfectly, and you’re immediately rooting for her, invested in what happens.
With every success and failure, you feel emotionally attached to Eloise, and this is what really carries the film. There aren’t many movies that draw you in so quickly, so seamlessly, but through clever writing and a great story, you can’t help but feel every turn in the plot as if it was happening to you.
Eloise is able to enter the 60s, through her dreams, I guess? And while this plot point is a bit far-fetched, it works for the movie. It’s one of the few negatives this movie has, but it hardly matters, because you’re swept up in the nostalgia, the flashing lights, and London in the 60s is a sight to behold. The back-and-forth is done really well, so as the viewer, you just have to let it sweep you along.
A Timely Film
While the movie is set partly in the 60s, its themes resonate with the modern-day. There’s a whole plot that coincides with the #MeToo movement, and it’s handled perfectly. Eloise, on her own in the big city, realizes the darker side of her new home. And the old man, who seemed so helpful, has alternative motives. His character, too, is well-done; dark, brooding, and creepy, but most of all powerful.
Power, especially power held by men, plays a big role in the film. It’s the antagonist, for most of the movie, and the parallels between London in the 60s and now are evident, but not forceful. The movie lets everything come to you and doesn’t force-feed any lessons. Everything really is done well. You barrel toward the end, and what an ending it is.
The twist-ending is one I genuinely didn’t see coming. It leads to a Hitchcock-like crescendo, with paranormal threats and physical ones colliding. And it really does justice to the movie. I didn’t think they could wrap it up so nicely, but somehow they pulled it off. It’s an ending that leaves you totally satisfied.
What is the movie about?
Well, it’s a complicated answer, but also right there, in plain sight. Despite the flashbacks to the 60s, despite the way Eloise is chasing her mother’s history, and despite the fashion industry she throws herself into…
This movie is anti-nostalgic. It’s about the “dangers of romanticizing the past.”
Which makes the movie even better, in my opinion. It’s not impressive or unique to make a psychological thriller, even one worthy of Hitchcock, that dabbles in nostalgia. But to make that kind of movie, with the message this movie has, is very hard to pull off.
There’s something relatable in the character of Eloise, and in her plight, and that’s what makes this movie a standout from all the others released in 2021. Eloise and her search for meaning, the way she’s drawn to the past. In the end, she finds a perfect, meaningful way to honor the past but without letting it trap her.
It’s a movie with a lot to say, and it says it very well.
Probably my favorite horror movie from 2021. Yes, I even think it beats out The Conjuring 3, which is a great movie in its own way.
This movie packs so much emotion, wit, and suspense into less than two hours. Even if you didn’t get the chance to see it in theaters, check it out for yourself. It’s worth the watch, and I have a feeling it’ll leave an impact on you.