Blinded by the Light (2019) Review


Javed is attempting to find himself in Luton in 1987 while attempting to please his father and do best for his family, but wanting to chase his dream of being a writer. When he is introduced to the music of Bruce Springsteen everything will change as he finds his voice with the help of the Boss’ lyrics.


Blinded by the Light has a lot of different themes and issues going on from start to finish and the first is the racism that existed in Britain only 32 years ago, which I feel is quite strange really considering that is my lifetime being born in 1987 myself. It actually made me sad to realise that the year I was born people still had such horrible views towards people who had moved to the UK from Pakistan.

As Javed turns 16 and starts attending 6th Form to study for his A Level’s he begins to realise that he must work hard and do this as his only exit from Luton. Avoiding life working in a factory like his father before him, especially when he is laid off after 16 years of hard work. He dreams of being a writer and his father has no idea he has even taken English. This is where Miss Clay really does help him and sees the potential he has, attempting to get him to find his voice.

This doesn’t really happen until he meets Roops, who introduces him to a new musical world. That containing Bruce Springsteen. From New Jersey and a poor background the Boss has many songs that will speak to people in all parts of the world. I am a huge fan, which I certainly think makes you adore this film even more. It really is a great way to highlight just how incredible so many of his lyrics are and the impact they had on Javed, this is based on a true story of course.

The thing I enjoyed the most about the film was how it highlight how important music is in your life. At different stages you might just find an artist/band/song that really defines how you feel and that it could have been written for or by you. That is something whether you like Springsteen or not that should be appreciated from this story.

The film is by no means perfect and will probably divide people but I was really taken in by it and it had some lovely feel good moments. The “Born to Run” scene being a particular highlight with them embracing and being happy with themselves, that song is one of my all time favourites as well so to see it used in that manner was really impressive.

Gurinder Chadha the same director/writer of Bend It Like Beckham brings us another tale in very similar fashion, in terms of the teen struggling to live up to family expectations when actually being brought up British in terms of school and social life. That was something that was evident within this film that Javed and his sister Shazia very much wanted to have the same life as the friends they had then made at school. But Malik their father wanted them to continue Pakistani traditions, including arranged marriages and always obeying.

Viveik Kalra was given a difficult task as Javed as he wasn’t really supposed to be an outstanding leading man in terms of charisma, as finding his voice was the focus so at times he may have seemed weak but I felt that was part of the character development within the story.

At times it was a little disjointed in terms of the story with Matt and then we don’t see him for a while, the same with Roops. The two different friendships which could have been explored a little bit more as both coming at different phases in his life and helped for many different reasons. The love story wasn’t forced and probably just the right about of times for it really.

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