“Last Night in Soho” (Ending Analysis): Is Sandie the Villain?

This post includes a brief plot summary, a discussion and an explanation about the ending of “Last Night in Soho”. Is Sandie the villain? Beware of spoilers.

Directed by Edgar Wright, the 2021 psychological horror film stars Thomasin McKenzie as Eloise “Ellie” Turner and Anya Taylor-Joy as Sandie.

“Last Night in Soho” is about a young woman, Eloise “Ellie” Turner, who is an aspiring fashion designer. In order to pursue her dreams, Ellie moves to London. There, she rents a bedsit from an elderly lady named Ms. Collins. Shortly after, Ellie begins to have visions of the past.

What Happens in Last Night in Soho (Plot Explained)

At night, Ellie often has dreams that transport her back to the 1960s. While navigating through her favourite era, Ellie encounters Sandie, a dazzling aspiring singer. Seeing her ambition, a young man named Jack, promises to make her famous.

As Ellie’s reality increasingly blends with these vivid dreams, she discovers that the glamorous life she idolizes is not as enchanting as it appears. Sandie is not thriving, as a matter of fact, Jack is forcing her to perform sex work on his clients.

One night, Ellie witnesses what she believes to be Sandie’s murder in her dreams, which occurred in the same room she occupies. Ellie’s visions become increasingly disturbing, affecting her grasp on reality.

Plot Twist: Meanwhile, as Ellie is trying to leave London, Ms. Collins stops her and reveals that she is Sandie. According to her, she killed Jack and the other men to protect herself. However, now that Ellie knows the truth, Ms. Collins intends to kill her.

A fire erupts during their struggle. A friend of Ellie’s (John) comes to her rescue, but Ms. Collins stabs him. As the building burns, Ellie sees visions of Sandie’s victims and a younger Sandie. Despite the spirits’ pleas, Ellie refuses to seek vengeance. Young Sandie instructs Ellie to save John, while Ms. Collins ends her life by refusing to leave the burning building.

This Is How “Last Night in Soho” Ends (An Analysis)

The ending of “Last Night in Soho” shows Ellie showcasing her fashion designs and gaining acclaim. After receiving warm congratulations from her grandmother and John, Ellie sees her mother and Sandie in a mirror.

What is the significance of the twist regarding Sandie’s identity?

The revelation that Ms. Collins is actually Sandie is a major plot twist that challenges the narrative of female victimhood. Throughout her journey in London, Sandie (or Ms. Collins) actually goes from victim to perpetrator of many crimes. The killings were methodic and targeted those who abused her and explored her for an extensive period of time.

Are Ellie’s visions and the supernatural elements in the film real?

Some viewers might question Ellie’s visions and other supernatural occurrences, whether they are real or not. However, there is a mystical element in “Last Night in Soho”. Ellie’s mental health deteriorates because of the visions and not the other way around. The visions are real, they are not random psychological manifestations.

What does the ending mirror scene mean?

There are many interpretations around the ending of “Last Night in Soho”. Some believe that Sandie’s tragic story left a profound mark on Ellie. In this theory, the protagonist hasn’t really moved on with her life, hence why Ellie keeps seeing Sandie. Meanwhile, others believe the ending scene means that Ellie sees a lot of herself in Sandie, and that’s why her image appears in the mirror.

Personally, I believe that the ending of “Last Night in Soho” represents Ellie’s coming-of-age. The protagonist has come a long way from the shy girl who used to live in the countryside to a young adult who is pursuing her dreams in London. Ellie has great empathy for Sandie. She understands her and for that same reason, Ellie chose to forgive Sandie for trying to kill her.

Note: As mentioned before, in “Last Night in Soho”, Ellie has the ability to see the dead. However, not all her visions are “haunted” or “bad”.

Both Ellie’s mother and Sandie’s lives ended in a tragic manner. Nonetheless, whenever Ellie sees them in a mirror, she sees them when they shine the brightest. At the very beginning of the film, Ellie’s mother appears with a youthful look. The same goes for Sandie at the very end of the film. She is wearing the peachy coloured dress, which matches the bright spirit she once had (before everything went downhill).

Last Night in Soho Discussion

So, is Sandie the villain of “Last Night in Soho”? The short answer is “no”. The reason why this question generates so much debate is due to the complexity of her character. “In Last Night in Soho”, Sandie is both a victim and a perpetrator.

When Sandie arrived in London, she had big dreams. Unfortunately for her, someone tried to take advantage of her “ambition” and aspirations. That person would be Jack. This man stripped Sandie of her dreams and dignity. As a result of long-term degrading abuse, Sandie decided to “fight back” and kill the ones who exploited her.

Even though Sandie (Ms. Collins) tried to kill Ellie, she didn’t do it out of malice. It was more of a self-preservation move than killing for pleasure. At the very end, Sandie does the right thing. She tells Ellie to leave with John so they can save themselves from the fire.

Having said that, Sandie is a perpetrator in the sense that she lured and killed her victims. Nonetheless, let’s not forget that they were also her abusers. Therefore, Sandie is more of a victim than a villain. Although this woman did some vile things, she also had to endure a lot of abuse. It’s quite understandable how someone like Sandie could’ve lost her mind.

Final Thoughts

“Last Night in Soho” serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of romanticizing the past and yearning for a glamorous life. This applies to both Ellie and Sandie. Both eventually realize that things aren’t what they appear to be, forcing them to face the harsh reality of their situations.

The film is visually stunning, but the impact of the climax falls short due to the protagonist. Ellie’s character feels underdeveloped, which weakens the emotional punch of Last Night in Soho’s climax. On the other hand, Sandie completely “steals the show”, and her presence in the film kind of overshadows Ellie.

Despite the previous critique, both Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie delivered solid performances in their respective roles. Overall, “Last Night in Soho” is an interesting watch. The film touches upon sensitive subjects, which naturally sparks conversations among viewers.