Review: Everything – The Real Thing Story (2019)


Everything – The Real Thing Story (2019)

Directed by: Simon Sheridan | 94 minutes | documentary, music, biography | Starring: Eddie Amoo, Chris Amoo, Dave Smith, Billy Ocean, Kim Wilde, David Essex, Trevor Nelson, Paul Barber, Louis Emerick, Jeff Wayne, Denise Pearson, Ray Lake

Of course you know the big hit ‘You To Me Are Everything’ – a typical seventies soul classic. Who sang it is interchangeable, because who are those voices behind interpreters The Real Thing? God knows. We didn’t know anyway.

The documentary ‘Everything – The Story of the Real Thing’ attempts to fill this gap – as traditional as it is contemporary, with talking heads and a focus on racial discrimination in 1970s England. This documentary stays a bit in between, and that’s the trick. Lead actors and colleagues have nothing special to report.

The Real Thing certainly deserves an entry in Top 2000 a gogo – as the first black British group with a number 1 hit, but an hour and a half about four folk boys from Liverpool with one classic to their name? Although the chronology of The Real Thing’s career (roughly between the mid-seventies and eighties) coincides with the crisis and the rise of Thatcher, a real choice between music film and social document is never made.

This product also doesn’t have the it-factor of a revival or special gimmick to spice it up. The alternate history of Liverpool, the city of the other four, apparently needs to be written; that’s what Sheridan is all about, with his pompous subtitle ‘Children of the Ghetto’. Then you must have an equivalent for The Beatles, and of course there isn’t.

The life history of the four band members is treated somewhat meagerly, a little too neatly too. The youngest of the bunch (poster boy Ray Lake) turned to heroin; it all stays on the plain. It is good that the whites are now in the minority, and that mainly dark colleagues are allowed to speak, but the substantive necessity of this documentary is never fully felt.

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