Coming of Age with Northern Soul
Directed by Elaine Constantine
Written by Elaine Constantine
Northern Soul is a fine niche* coming-of-age movie from the usual male point of view. I loved the setting and all of the grimy details, especially the intersection of drug use and the dance scene.** While it follows the usual coming of age/drug use trajectories, the enthusiasm for Northern Soul music makes this a fun watch.
The verdict: Good
Cost: free via Hoopla, one of Multnomah County Library’s streaming services.
Where watched: at home
Consider also watching:
- Sing Street
- We Are the Best
- The Commitments
- Almost Famous
*The niche in question is Northern Soul music which Wikipedia tells me is “a music and dance movement that emerged in Northern England and the English Midlands in the late 1960’s from the British mod scene, based on a particular style of black American soul music…with a heavy beat and fast tempo.” You can read more here, including the information about how the lesser or unknown tracks were the most popular Northern Soul music. A plot point hinges around this.
**At times, it seemed that the big pops of color were the uppers the characters were taking.
- What music was your coming of age music?
- Would you have been into Northern Soul in the early 1970s? (Or were you?)
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
Was originally only meant to be playing in five screens across the UK but due to high demand it got a blanket release of over 160 screens
Other reviews of Northern Soul:
- Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
- Nathalie Atkinson, The Globe and Mail
My coming-of-age music involved guitars with a lot of reverb, men with hair longer than me who sang higher than I did, and bands who partied all the time. God, I loved it.
I think I would have liked Northern Soul a lot if I were young in the 70s. I’m not sure how much I would have appreciated the attitude that the cool tracks were the ones that were the most popular. But the music was great.