Blinded by the Light Review
by E. Stevens
**** 4 Stars
‘The scenes I most enjoyed in this film were the sequences that showed various events unfolding with Springsteen music in the background.’
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Cast: Viveik Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir, Nell Williams & Aaron Phagura
Plot Synopsis: Javed, a Pakistani teenager living in Luton in 1987, has a passion for poetry and creative writing, despite his traditional father’s disapproval. When a school friend introduces him to Bruce Springsteen, Javed’s world is turned upside down in the best, and the worst way possible.
I was not expecting to particularly enjoy this film, considering I am not exactly a Bruce Springsteen fan, but I was pleasantly surprised. The story had many more serious themes, such as the racism that took place in the eighties, as well as the impact of the unemployment crisis.
The story opens with Javed, a teenager living in 1987 Luton, whose family moved to England from Pakistan. His father is strict, controlling, and wants Javed to start a secure, well-paid job as soon as possible. But Javed has other ideas; he has always had a passion for writing poetry, and wants to leave Luton and become a writer. On his first day at sixth form, a classmate hands him a Bruce Springsteen cassette tape, telling him to listen to it. Javed does, and he is completely in awe.
The scenes I most enjoyed in this film were the sequences that showed various events unfolding with Springsteen music in the background. Chadha’s decision to include lyrics written directly onto the scene also worked extremely well. It put the viewer into Javed’s perspective, because many of the lyrics directly mirrored Javed’s own experiences, implying why he loves this music so much.
As well as these heart-warming scenes, the film handled topics such as racism very well. Throughout the film, there were many examples of the blatant racism that Javed and his family experience, gradually building up to the NF protest near the end of the film. This scene wasn’t glossed over, but showed the harsh reality of such protests, and how they almost always end in disaster, which I greatly appreciated.
However, I did feel that at times Javed’s character seemed quite irrational. Although the intention was to show Javed’s similarities to his father, and by the end he had changed, I felt that occasionally he was just too unlikeable, such as when he decided to miss a major family event to buy Bruce Springsteen tickets.
Despite this, I greatly enjoyed this film as it was touching and uplifting, but with a serious message about acceptance.
Blinded by the Light is currently available on Prime Video and was rated 12A by the BBFC.