Author Stephen King has praised the movie on Twitter, which makes sense, since the premise (written by Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns) feels like something he might have concocted, leaving the audience guessing about the extent to which what’s happening is psychological or supernatural.
Soon, Eloise begins experiencing visions of the ’60s, where she witnesses the struggles of an aspiring singer, Sandie (Taylor-Joy), who comes brimming with confidence and catches the eye of a smooth-talking manager (Matt Smith).
“There’s just something about the ’60s that speaks to me,” Eloise explains, but the way-cool fashions of the time also come with less-cool accessories, including the misogynistic attitudes toward women.
Of course, style points only go so far, and “Last Night in Soho” eventually has to get down to the business of clarifying what’s going on, and the extent to which Eloise’s history could play a role.
The story also lags a bit, frankly, during the periods when Taylor-Joy isn’t on screen, indicative of the gaudy levels of star wattage she brings to the proceedings. Finally, like many a King adaptation, the payoff doesn’t prove fully equal to the buildup.
Nevertheless, Wright has found a way to make the film about more than simple nostalgia, as Eloise discovers, delivering a movie that isn’t all that original and yet manages to feel bracingly fresh and unexpectedly relevant.
How well the movie speaks to you might depend in part on how much the fashions, music and little touches (such as “Thunderball” playing on the local movie marquee) resonate. But overall “Last Night in Soho’s” way-back machine delivers a thrilling trip, one that niftily brings a bit more Taylor-Joy to the world.
“Last Night in Soho” premieres in US theaters on Oct. 29. It’s rated R.