My Complicated Feelings About Last Night in Soho

8 min readNov 26, 2021


Okay, so this week, I saw the last session for Last Night in Soho at the Event Cinema in Parramatta once more. They didn’t have mint choc-tops this time, so I gave the salted caramel a chance. I was pleasantly surprised.

I’ve been looking forward to this film for several months now, and I’m glad I saw it. It has a lot going on for itself. And I respect Edgar Wright so much for doing something different. While he’s a brilliant director and writer, this is his first time going into horror, which seems to be the opposite way around for most directors. And while some might not have liked this version of horror, I did. I loved that it was surreal with semi realities preying on the psychology of the heroine. I loved the fact that the film didn’t romanticise the 60s’ not only deconstructing that time but also purposefully showing it as destructive and pure evil. I loved all the performances, basically particularly Anya-Taylor Joy and Thomasin McKenzie. The costumes, too which are very important in this story.

Also, I think it is a shame that this film hasn’t even made its budget back. I find it so disappointing that first Ridley Scott and now Edgar Wright, these talented directors making original films, aren’t getting the viewership right now. Yes, part of that is COVID 19, not much marketing for these films (not that I saw) and the fact that they are in competition with some other bigger films right now, such as Dune and Eternals (both of which I will review soon).

Saying all of this, I have some complicated feelings about Last Night in Soho. It has a particular twist at the end that reminded me of how I felt about Lupin the Third: A Woman Called Fujiko Mine, and like that anime, I still would recommend watching Last Night in Soho, even though I wouldn’t say I like the ending.

I want to be clear, I do not dislike this movie, I just have feelings that I’m trying to understand and put into words, and maybe someone else feels similar. However, despite my feelings, these properties deserve more recognition than what they are getting. That is something that needs to be stressed.

Before I talk about the twist where most of my feelings lay, I want to briefly discuss John’s character, played by Michael Ajao. Michael Ajao is an up and coming actor, and I am somewhat worried that the script didn’t do much for him. I appreciated his moments with Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie) because they were both dorks. Personally, though, I got frustrated with the fact that we never learned anything about his character. We end up knowing more about Ellie’s bully Jocasta. I can tell you she’s from Manchester, she took a gap year before going to fashion college, her mother died when she was a teenager, she scratches out her last name because she wants to be so iconic she’ll only be known by her first name, and she wears clothes from a designer before that designer became a sellout.

John is just written in service of Ellie, and I just found this very poor. He’s gone to fashion school too, and I would have liked to have known what got him into textiles, at least. Michael Ajao had such a puppy-dog eyes quality and charm to him that I was internally begging, “please, just let me get to know this character, movie!” I also resented that John was not allowed to be flawed really but just a loyalist to Ellie for no particular reason. As much as I appreciated their adorability together with all of the issues, it made it hard to buy into their relationship. And even that relationship, the movie has a vague conclusion as to whether or not they’re just friends.

So I hope Ajao gets a better deal in another movie one day.

Before I get into my issues with the twist, here is the background information. Ellie gets into fashion college, and after briefly living with her awful – though it was a riot of humour – roommate Jocasta she moves out into a bedsit in Soho. Once she’s settled, she begins to have dreams about a young lady, a singer named “Sandie”, in 1960s Soho. Ellie vicariously lives through Sandie’s past, which is the most fun for her coupled with her fondness for 1960s fashion, music and what she imagines the zeitgeist to be.

However, as earlier established in the film Ellie seems to have some mild ability to connect with spirits as she can occasionally see the reflection of her dead mother in mirrors. I just want to say that Edgar Wright films tend to have impeccably planned out stories and this detail at the beginning is so good, in my opinion. First, it sets up earlier in the film that Ellie has some supernatural phenomenon to her with the payoff of connecting with the past later on. An ability that previously is implied to have caused emotional pain to Ellie that she has come to a neutral peace with now provides her with an escape from her pressuring uni life. But also, this payoff sets up tension, as Ellie’s mother committed suicide due to mental illness. As the movie progresses and Ellie’s dreams get more real, there’s a growing alarm about whether Ellie is succumbing to the same mental illness like her mother.

I have dropped out of university multiple times due to intense anxiety and just a general feeling of disillusionment and depression. In the end, I managed to obtain two trade certificates though not without cracking toward the end of them and needing an extension to get through. My early twenties were very much defined by anxiety and depression of trying and failing to pursue tertiary education. I have an embarrassing amount of experience as to some of what Ellie is going through in this film. Like her, I also moved away from home at just eighteen to do all of that. And I just wanted to praise this film for doing such a fantastic job of portraying this difficulty. It is not just a way of adding to the horror but is its own genuine thing, something that is, unfortunately, familiar to many young people.

Oh, right, I was meant to be summarising. Okay, so basically, later, Ellie clues into that these dreams are something real that happened. And Sandie’s course to becoming a singer eventually turns into being forced into prostitution by her lover and manager, Jack. This horrible downturn eventually “reveals” that Sandie was murdered. Explicitly the film shows us a vision of Sandie being stabbed by Jack in her bed in the room that Ellie rents. This sequence was even triggered by Ellie and John almost having sex. Things mean things, movie.

So what ends up being quite odd is that Ellie finds out her landlord Alexandria Collins is Sandie. So Sandie was not murdered, even though that’s what the movie showed us.

How this ends up getting explained by the movie was that Sandie’s death was “symbolic.” The movie then shows us what really happened. Sandie killed Jack and was never the same after that.

And you know what? That was interesting. I thought this was nice. And I was fully prepared to let this technical retcon go. (Even with the logic jump of how the heck did Ellie not know her landlord’s first name?)

Ellie has this unique connection with Sandie now, and because it is fully understood that Sandie’s actions were self-defence, it sets up a unique conflict of how this will get settled. It could have gone the way of Sandie explaining why she hid the body and never reported what happened to her, thereby delivering some harsh commentary on the times and even today of how women who are victims of sexual violence get treated (this a main theme throughout the movie). Ellie could have encouraged her to speak to the police about it and go with her to support her as a friend. However, she would have had to serve some time for, you know, hiding a body though perhaps at a reduced sentence. Or perhaps just probation due to circumstances, mental illness, good behaviour and age, I don’t know.

Or maybe Sandie and Ellie could have had a truce where Ellie moves out, promising to keep her secret, the fact of knowing she wasn’t going crazy being enough closure for her to move on with her life. And Sandie, unsure of whether or not Ellie can keep her secret, takes a chance of trusting her anyway. And perhaps after some time passes, Sandie passes away naturally from old age (or maybe suicide); the police find her written confession confirming everything Ellie claimed in the movie.

So that’s what I think should have happened. But what did happen actually at the end of Last Night in Soho?

Oh boy.

Well, in addition to killing Jack, it’s suddenly unveiled that Sandie, who the audience is made to be attached to just as much as Ellie and is a victim of multiple sexual assaults, is also a serial killer. Yup. It turns out that Sandie killed every single man she was forced to be with. So that lays it on pretty thick!

I have a lot of frustration with the logic here, movie.

First of all, there is absolutely no way in hell that a woman would be able to murder every single man who has raped her successfully. It’s just not probable. And there’s like at least twenty men she murdered, enough to fill a room at least. And generally speaking people who have been traumatised by the worse thing that could happen to them just don’t react this way.

There’s a superb film called Promising Young Woman which also serves as a sort of revenge on rapists fantasy film for women to enjoy – to downplay it somewhat. And while the story succeeds in the revenge, it comes at the cost of the heroine’s life as she is overpowered by the man she is trying to punish. Emerald Fennell, the director of Promising Young Woman, said that the decision to have the heroine die at the end was because, in real life, it would not have been possible for a woman to survive in the position she was in.

I know some people didn’t like that ending because the main character dies at the end, even though I loved it. People who didn’t like that ending may prefer Last Night in Soho as a counter.

Still, I think this was overkill. Like I do see the appeal in having a final showdown between Ellie and Sandie in a burning building before Sandie has a change of heart. It just would have been more effective if it had just been about a disagreement regarding whether or not to go to the police about Jack. And nobody else. Sometimes less is more.

I do like how in retrospect, you realise that a young Lindsay was possibly investigating Sandie on suspicion of serial murder. However, still, it could have just been about where Jack disappeared to. Come on!

Despite my grievances with a small though extremely important aspect of the film, I hope Edgar Wright gets to make another movie soon despite the unfortunate circumstances this one is facing. If you read this, please keep in mind that watching films like Last Night in Soho is vital as they are original stand-alone movies, and I and others do not want this art to disappear.




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