Last Night in Soho writer defends controversial twist

·2-min read
Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Last Night in Soho spoilers follow.

Last Night in Soho has dazzled viewers with its depiction of London in the Swinging Sixties, but many have come to criticise the movie's underlying message and its core twist.

The Edgar Wright-directed film focuses on dreamy-eyed Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), who moved to the capital to study at London College of Fashion. As she moves into a bedsit to avoid her snarky coursemates, she starts to slip through time, following and sometimes embodying a young woman named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), who used to live in the same room as Eloise.

Sandie seems to be on the road to success, wanting to make it as a singer, but quickly becomes entangled with Jack (Matt Smith), who forces her to perform in raunchy cabaret shows and sleep with some of his clients.

Photo credit: Focus
Photo credit: Focus

Quickly, Sandie's dreams become nightmares and so do Eloise's when she has a vision of Sandie being murdered by Jack. The ghosts of the men that abused Sandie haunt Eloise until we find out that it was Sandie who murdered Jack as she did with many other men before him. And Sandie isn't dead, but has aged and is now Eloise's landlady (played by the late Diana Rigg).

Digital Spy's own review of Edgar Wright's latest horror was among the many criticising the twist, calling it a "grossly failed attempt at subversion, flipping the gender roles of victim and perpetrator in an attempt to say something 'clever' about the way we perceive people because of their gender".

But writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns has now defended her decision to chart the story in this way. Speaking to IndieWire, she explained: "That original twist was always there, and that was, for me, the key idea to the female empowerment."

Photo credit: Focus Features / Parisa Taghizadeh
Photo credit: Focus Features / Parisa Taghizadeh

"I had never seen a villain like that before. I'd never seen a villain where I don't agree with what she does, but I empathise with what she does," continued Wilson-Cairns, who co-wrote the script based on an original idea by Wright.

"That was such a crucial element that hooked me in. I think without that twist, I might not have been as interested in the film."

Speaking of the plot's progression as a whole, she said of the film: "There's some red flags there! But it's subtle enough, and you're swept up enough in this idea of, 'Wow, this is a dream.'

"And then we completely and utterly turn that on their head, and we're like, 'Oh, you thought this was going to be a lovely trip down Memory Lane? Surprise. It's not.' And then it only gets much darker from there."

Last Night in Soho is now playing in cinemas.

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