Last Night in Soho Parent Guide
This film is slick and stylish but it lacks the level of finishing that distinguishes the director's other films. Oh, and it's pretty gory.
Parent Movie Review
Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie) is following her dreams of studying fashion all the way from Cornwall to London. The aspiring designer loves the history of the city, particularly the glitz and glamour of 1960s London. So when Ellie starts dreaming about Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), a girl trying to make it as a singer in the late 60’s, Ellie loses herself in the fantasy. But life is much more than aspirations, and as Sandie’s traumatic memories start pinballing around Ellie’s psyche, Ellie begins to realize that the past is a lot closer than she’d imagined…
With the past taking over, Ellie begins struggling at school, and worse yet, starts losing track of what’s real. If Ellie wants to get out of this alive, she’s going to need to find out what happened to Sandie. And it seems that one of the older gentlemen (Terence Stamp) in the neighborhood might know a thing or two about the singer’s fate.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this film. Edgar Wright is one of my favorite directors, but I know him primarily for films which are either comedies, or at least have comedic elements. Baby Driver, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World are all wonderful films, but none of them take themselves entirely seriously. Last Night in Soho, on the other hand, is as serious as a heart attack. Difficult psychological thrillers are a big jump from comedy. In this case, it might be a jump too far.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie. As with all Edgar Wright movies, the music is front and center. In this case, it’s 60’s English pop, and it is instrumental in building the dense atmosphere the film relies on. That’s supported by the rich visuals, with intense neon light leaving deep shadows, and a dramatic assortment of mid-century fashion. If you’re like Ellie and have a passion for all things 60’s, then you’re going to have a field day with this film’s aesthetic.
Fun pop culture aside, Last Night in Soho comes with more than its fair share of problems. The subject matter is dark, dealing with sexual violence, prostitution, and of course, murder. While the script treats the issues sensitively, it does make for a rather grim viewing experience. The other, far bigger issue is that the second half of the film gets a little messy. Now, I’m willing to write off a certain amount of that mess to an attempt to mirror the protagonist’s mental state, but the film still feels a little rough. Especially following a very polished first half, the ending feels like a bit of a letdown.
Of course, parents are likely to find the whole production a bit of a let-down, especially as far as family viewing is concerned. As I mentioned, the story deals heavily with sex and prostitution, although notably manages to do so without any actual nudity. There’s also one scene of fairly bloody violence, but for the genre it’s quite mild in that regard. A more regular issue is the profanity, which while justified in many cases, is not ideal for a younger audience. And, just as some icing on the cake, there is a scene which involves intense strobing lights, so the photosensitive may wish to give this one a miss or schedule a bathroom break.
At the end of the day, this is still an Edgar Wright film. It is, for the most part, stylish, well-shot, and superbly acted. But it lacks the level of finish that distinguish his other movies, and I can’t entirely put my finger on a single reason. If you’re looking for a frightening escape to the Swinging Sixties, then this is going to be more than enough for you. If you’re expecting Wright to deliver the best horror of the year, though, then tragically, you’re just out of luck.Directed by Edgar Wright. Starring Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Dianna Rigg, Matt Smith, . Running time: 116 minutes. Theatrical release October 29, 2021. Updated February 24, 2022
Watch the trailer for Last Night in Soho
Last Night in Soho
Rating & Content Info
Why is Last Night in Soho rated R? Last Night in Soho is rated R by the MPAA for bloody violence, sexual content, language, brief drug material and brief graphic nudity
Violence: There are references to suicide and self-harm. People are slapped and punched. An individual is struck by a car. People are seen being stabbed.
Sexual Content: There are references to and depictions of prostitution and sex trafficking. Burlesque dancing is seen. Women are seen in revealing outfits, but with no explicit nudity. A woman puts her head at a man’s crotch with implied sexual activity.
Profanity: There are 18 sexual expletives and six scatological terms, along with infrequent mild cursing and use of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are frequently seen drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco. There are references to hallucinogens. A background character is very briefly seen using unidentified intravenous drugs.
Page last updated February 24, 2022
Last Night in Soho Parents' Guide
It’s easy to put a romantic shine on the past, but history is just as flawed as the present. What is your favorite time period? What were critical issues during that era? Have those problems been resolved, or have they endured? What could be done to address them today?
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Fans of Edgar Wright will enjoy Baby Driver, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, The World’s End, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Other stylish psychological thrillers/horrors include The Sixth Sense, The Devil All the Time, Enemy, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, The Shining, The VVitch(which also stars Anya Taylor-Joy), Gretel and Hansel, or even a classic like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.