Northern Soul

Set in Lancashire England, this coming-of-age tale bursts out of a musical renaissance that takes hold of a small conservative English town in 1974 and transforms it into a hot-bed of modern dance and music. 

Filmed with intimate in-your-face intensity, Northern Soul is a fever dream of dance hall hoards moving wildly in odd spontaneous twists and turns punctuated with karate kicks and fist pumps to a musical sound that starts a massive new dance movement in England.

John (Elliot James Langridge) is a shy awkward kid who is bullied in school by his teacher and at home by his mother. He has a passion for poetry and admires a girl from a distance. He feels useless and inept until he meets Matt (Josh Whitehouse), a passionate rebellious kid who dresses in strange new fashions and moves with a wild dance style that’s more like martial arts mixed with acrobatics.

The dance floor as creative outlet of personal expression set to black American soul music transforms John into a hardcore dancer and in-demand DJ whose new found confidence lifts him out of his dull victimized existence and elevates him to rock star status within the community of his peers. 

Dressed in baggy trousers and tight shirts with wide collars in the latest 70’s fashions, the two teens start their own night club with the music they select themselves. Soon their dance club is packed with young people lining up to get in and take part in the coolest new dance fever. 

With sudden access to unlimited supplies of drugs giving them a heightened feeling of reverie on the dance floor, and his new status as the hottest DJ in town, John finally gets up the courage to talk to the girl he has been admiring for so long.

John and Matt make a pact to save up enough money to travel to America together and bring back vast untapped wealth of music that must exist there. But their intense new friendship is threatened when they are offered a shot at the big time and creative compromises creep into the equation.

Can their relationship survive the drugs and ever elusive success they seek? And where will it take them? As they struggle with authority, intolerance and their growing passion for music, there are harsh life lessons learned, friendships tested and tragic consequences.

The filmmaker’s personal love for the time period and subject matter drives this film and gives it its authentic look and feel. The intensely energetic performances are absolutely mesmerizing, and keep the film constantly captivating. 

Northern Soul exudes a nostalgic coming-of-age experience set to the music of its time that’s similar to other blast from the past films like Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993) and George Lucas’ American Graffiti (1973).

Part of the City to City program at this year’s TIFF40 (Toronto International Film Festival), Northern Soul is a fun exhilarating and intense uplifting experience that grabs you with its infectious enthusiasm and energy. 


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