Connecticut Post (Sunday)

Past and present meet in ‘Last Night in Soho’


If there ever was a film fit for reflection about past, present, fantasy and reality, “Last Night in Soho” is it. The stylized story imagines a young, 1960s-obssessed fashion designer, Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) who travels to London for school. When she finds a room to rent in an old home in Soho, she begins having increasing­ly realistic dreams about the era and an aspiring singer, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), that starts out as sparkling, champagne fun, but takes a sinister turn the deeper she goes. The film opens in theaters Friday.

“The movie is essentiall­y about the dangers of nostalgia,” Director Edgar Wright said. “There is no magical decade where everything was great. It’s just a fallacy to suggest that that exists.”

It is an exciting departure for Wright, who has become known for a particular brand of referentia­l humor, and something he’s been thinking about for a while. He’d worked out the story, the soundtrack and had a “phone book” full of interviews with people who’d lived, worked and drank in Soho spots like the Café De Paris over the years. But when he finally sat down to write it, he just stared at a blank page.

Help would come in the form of screenwrit­er Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who he’d met somewhat perfectly on the night of Brexit, and who also used to work in a pub in Soho (The Toucan, which features prominentl­y in the film). And for six weeks in a rented office in Soho, they wrote.

“I had originally envisaged all of the ‘60s scenes being kind of silent, like they were like musical set-pieces,” Wright said.

He mostly relished the opportunit­y to both pay tribute to and expose an era that has increasing­ly been reduced to something of a false novelty.

“It’s something that I feel in dreams that I haven’t really seen in a movie is the idea of what if you went back and lived vicariousl­y through somebody else but you were just a witness? As in, you’re there and you’re seeing it, but you can’t do anything,” he said. “If making a movie is like being on the therapist couch, it’s like, you cannot change what’s past, you can only deal with the past in the future. So that’s sort of what the movie’s saying. No matter what you do, you cannot turn back the clock and change things. You have to deal with it now.”

 ?? Chris Pizzello / Associated Press ?? Thomasin McKenzie poses for a portrait to promote the film “Last Night in Soho.”
Chris Pizzello / Associated Press Thomasin McKenzie poses for a portrait to promote the film “Last Night in Soho.”

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