Last Night In Soho Is 'A Cautionary Tale Of Nostalgia,' According To Edgar Wright

If you believe the hype, "Last Night in Soho" is shaping up to be something special. You wouldn't expect the cast and crew to describe their latest movie in anything less than glowing terms, obviously, but there's just something about the specific tone of reactions used for filmmaker Edgar Wright's next movie that makes this sound different, somehow. Star Anya Taylor-Joy has previously called the film "a very well-directed acid trip," making passing reference to the fact that Wright's inspiration for the film stemmed from taking walks around the streets of London and wondering at the secrets held by dilapidated buildings that, at one point in the past, were known among socialites as the places to be. In addition to its unsettling twist on the body-swap premise, the latest quotes indicate that the movie will be serve as a "cautionary tale of nostalgia," a loaded topic if there ever was one.

"Be Careful What You Wish For"

Those with only a passing familiarity with Edgar Wright's work might be surprised at this startling change of direction into psychological horror territory with "Last Night in Soho," but Wright's films have always had a tendency to toss several potent ideas into the air at once and reward viewers who engage with those concepts on whatever level they choose. "The World's End," my personal favorite of Wright's "Cornetto Trilogy," works just as well as a darkly humorous romp through U.K. bars (sorry, pubs) and as a story about the shifting nature of homegrown friendships, as it does as an unflinching look at the costs of alcoholism. It would appear that "Last Night in Soho" follows a similar course, though more focused on how the allure of the past can be taken to dangerous extremes if we're not careful.

That lines up with what we know about the plot, which features Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise, a fashion designer who lives in the present but is constantly yearning for the culture and energy of 1960s London. This obsession somehow manifests in Eloise embodying the, well, body of Taylor-Joy's Sandy, an aspiring singer in the 1960s. As Wright tells it in an extensive feature with Empire, this allowed him and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns ("Penny Dreadful," "1917") to dive deep into our relationship with the past.

"It's a bit of a cautionary tale of nostalgia. It's about the dangers of romanticising the past. Last Night In Soho is really about that idea of, 'Be careful what you wish for.'"

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to quantifying my excitement levels for this movie. I can't imagine how relevant a message like this might feel as "Last Night in Soho" debuts in theaters later this year amid a glut of IP-based blockbusters attempting to cash in on audience investment through specific franchises that they're already well familiar with. No idea at all!

But as if she read my mind and wished to underline the point that movies can be about more than just one thing at a time, Wilson-Cairns adds her thoughts on yet another angle that "Last Night in Soho" will attempt to tackle:

"It's about the exploitation of women. And the exploitation of any marginalised group, really. I don't think people talk about it enough. I don't think we see it on screen enough and I don't think we understand the full implications of it enough. And I think we need to talk about it in fiction, because that's how people begin to grapple with stuff that's not directly connected to them. So it couldn't not be a theme, because we're talking about the '60s and it was rife."

A lot of thought appears to have been put into how the film would properly do justice to such a sensitive, all-encompassing social issue. Interestingly enough, this is also where Wilson-Cairns' presence pays dividends. "Last Night in Soho" will be the first Edgar Wright film to feature two leads played by women, making Wright cognizant of the fact that he needed an authentic voice and a deft touch to bring these characters to life. As Wilson-Cairns puts it:

"You never go in and say, 'We want to write great female roles to pass the Bechdel Test.' To tell this story, it was important to have two strong female characters. It was more important to tell the story correctly and develop interesting characters rather than write women for the sake of it. I wouldn't have been involved in that. But I admire Edgar for saying, 'You know what? I'm going to take on this challenge.'"

"Last Night in Soho" will arrive in theaters on October 29, 2021.