Bursting with Bruce Springsten music and heartwarming characters, Blinded by the Light is another touching film from the director of Bend it like Beckham, Gurinder Chadha. While the movie is powerful and enjoyable, it has some flaws that ultimately make it a just mediocre movie.
Based on a true story, the comedy-drama movie centers on Javed (Viveik Kalra), a British-Pakastani teen, as he lives through the 1980s in the small town of Luton, England. His father (Kulvinder Ghir) is a traditional man, a Pakistani immigrant with hopes that his only son will go to college and have a successful career.
Javed, however, has his own dreams of becoming a writer. Writing poetry since he was a young boy, it became Javed’s way to escape from his personal struggles. With a strict, overbearing family, racism in the community, and a town in economic turmoil, he feels he has no support from anyone to pursue his own passions. He stops writing poems and attempts to throw them all away.
But then his classmate and soon to be best friend, Roops (Aaron Phagura), introduces him to “The Boss”. As the lyrics float around him on screen, Javed instantly connects with the words of Springsteen’s songs, and feels they are speaking directly to him and his hardships as a working-class outsider in the community. He feels liberated and understood by Springsten, and starts to write poetry again.
Feeling confident enough to share his poems with his English teacher, Ms. Clay (Hayley Atwell), start dating his classmate crush, Eliza (Nell Williams), and write for his school’s newspaper, things are starting to look bright, but Javed still has many obstacles to overcome.
Blinded by the Light is filled with meaningful moments, captivating characters, powerful themes, and a great soundtrack. The film tackles serious issues still relevant today, while still being a feel-good and fun movie. Though it is an enjoyable film overall, it does contain some flaws that take away from the main messages.
The story is predictable, and many of the leading characters don’t show any growth or development over the course of the movie, while some of the existing character development is jarring and unfounded. Sometimes the cinematography and script clash in a way that created awkward and almost uncomfortable transitions between scenes, giving the film a very juvenile feel. This film also seemed just too long. The story could have been told in a shorter movie, and thus wouldn’t seem as long and drawn out. This movie would be better seen once it comes out on streaming services or cable TV, rather than spending money to see it in theaters.
Blinded by the Light will be releasing in theaters on August 16, 2019.