The Northern Soul movie, directed by Elaine Constantine in 2014, is a British historical film that narrates the story of two teenagers from Lancashire, Matt and John, who discover African-American soul music and the associated dance culture in Britain, which changed their lives forever. The movie was chosen to be screened in the City to City section of the Toronto Film Festival in 2015.

The plot is set in Lancashire in 1974, where the movie follows the journey of Matt and John as they abandon their mundane life of youth clubs and factory lines to fulfil their dream of traveling to the US, exploring unknown soul 45s, and establishing themselves as leading DJs in the Northern soul music scene. However, their journey, fuelled by dance and amphetamines, introduces them to some of the darker elements of the scene, testing their friendship to its limits.

Elaine Constantine’s passion project took 15 years to come to fruition as it was rejected by major funding bodies, key festivals, and institutional production partners in the UK. Eventually, it was funded by a combination of private investors and her personal investment. Universal Pictures acquired the distribution rights and sub-licensed the theatrical release to Munro Film Services. Despite being given a limited marketing campaign and only a three-day theatrical window, the movie became the widest short-window release in the UK to date. It opened on 89 screens on its opening night and 120 screens over its opening weekend. With almost full occupancy across 235 individual screenings, the film made it to the box office top 10 during its opening weekend.

The movie’s soundtrack reached number 7 in the UK Compilation Chart, and on 2 December, it was released on Netflix in the United States. The film received praise from both the public and critics, with social media groups advocating for its release in their local cinemas. The movie was eventually screened in nearly 300 separate cinemas and other venues in the UK.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on reviews from 38 critics. The site’s consensus is that “Northern Soul overcomes its spotty narrative with a likeable cast, rich period atmosphere, and a killer soundtrack that perfectly captures the time.” On Metacritic, the film has a score of 64% based on reviews from 14 critics, indicating “generally favourable reviews.” Mark Kermode of The Guardian was one of several critics who gave the film four stars, saying, “Constantine catches the energy of the dancehall with aplomb, transporting her audiences from the empty floors of dour neighbourhood youth clubs to the throng of the Wigan Casino with urgent ease. Steve Coogan and Ricky Tomlinson add sly cameo support. Definitely worth a spin.”