– . – SoulBoy
Northern Soul is almost unique as a musical genre because it was born out of dance clubs, where it was played from imported vinyl, rather than performed by live musicians. SoulBoy, a British coming-of-age movie, puts the phenomenon into a historical context.
The story, set in 1974 Stoke on Trent, follows Joe McCain (Compston), who spends his weeks delivering potatoes, and his weekends at the local pub with his best mate Russ (Allen). When he spots beautiful hairdresser Jane (Burley) and tries to get a date with her, Jane introduces Joe to the world of soul music. Eventually, Joe ends up at the Mecca of Northern Soul: the Wigan Casino. Being an ex ice skater he has some moves of his own, and adopts the fashion of the soul boys, but still can’t win over the girl of his dreams. Along the way, however, he does strike up a friendship with Mandy (Felicity Jones), the sister of an old school friend, and a love triangle ensues.
The story is somewhat predictable, even down to the Karate Kid finale, but its charm comes from believable portrayals of the characters, the brash Northern humour and the fantastic music and energetic dance sequences, which are integrated into the story rather than being set pieces. This is all enhanced by the attention to period details and costumes, and the cinematography that perfectly captures the mood of the era. 4 stars