It’s been some time coming but Northern Soul the movie, a new film by Elaine Constantine is finally out. It’s in cinemas all over the country – mainly independents though I understand that some chains are showing an interest such has been the film’s impact and social media presence, and it’s also (perhaps unfortunately timing-wise, given the success of the film in cinemas so far) out on DVD. You can also stream it from on most major streaming platforms.
If you can, go and see it a the cinema – if you can’t, buy the DVD/legal stream and support the producers of the film who have shed blood sweat and tears to make it happen.
Here’s the trailer for Northern Soul the movie from YouTube:
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing it and while I don’t want to spoil it in any way for you, I will say that I was extremely impressed. It’s a great film- not just for people who are into northern soul music, not just for anyone who actually went to the Wigan Casino circa 1974, but for people who like good films full stop. The acting is spot on (and there are appearances from Steve Coogan and Ricky Tomlinson which add some heavyweight star quality to the cast) but the main protagonists are also superb. What I particularly liked, was the fact that the film consciously shies away from obvious commercial polish (think cringe worthy “dance off” in Soul Boy – there’s none of that nonsense here) and is extremely gritty and uncompromising throughout in terms of settings, language, dialects and sets. All the hair, the clothes, the dancing, the street scenes are superbly done. I particularly enjoyed the dig at dance competitions (which are the bane of certain northern soul events these days) and I thought the fashions of the time were superbly stated and realised – and very unlike the fancy dress of a lot of people at northern soul allnighters and weekenders today who I think have a slightly selective memory of the fashions of the time.
So, as I said, I don’t want to give anything away. It’s hands down the best ever film to tell the northern soul story but in some regards it’s not “all about” northern soul and I like the fact that Elaine resisted going down that path. Having said that, it manages, without being patronising or overly smart a**ed, to get across the obsession with hunting down elusive rare records, cover ups, drugs, and the wild freedom experienced by those who packed the casino in its heyday – i.e. circa 1974 before the divs started to come along and the much talked about quality control issues began to surface as the supply of pure soul stormers seemed to dry up.
If you know anyone who appreciates good music, or just good British films – this is a must buy christmas present and there’s also a rather good book that accompanys which is a history of the northern soul scene (and not the story as told in the film). Both excellent purchases. Oh, and there’s an accompanying CD as well which, if you are new to northern soul – is a great place to start your listening adventures.
Congratulations to all involved – it really is a triumph! Go and see it!