Director: Gurinder Chadha
Starring: Viveik Kalra, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Kulvinder Ghir, Nell Williams, Dean-Charles Chapman and Aaron Phagura
The last few years have seen a barrage of music-based movies hit our cinema screens. We’ve had Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocket Man and most recently Yesterday. It was only a matter of time before there was a film about the music of Bruce Springsteen.
However, Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded By The Light isn’t your by-the-numbers music biopic about how Bruce managed to make it and eventually become known as The Boss. No, this is very different.
Blinded By The Light is set in Luton in the 1980s and follows Javed (Viveik Kalra). a British teen of Pakistani descent. He’s someone who doesn’t really feel like he belongs anywhere. He doesn’t fit in with his father’s way of viewing the world and is shunned by much of British society for being Pakistani.
He’s walking a difficult tightrope and is feeling a bit lost in Luton, struggles to talk to girls, and can’t wait to get out. However, his life is fundamentally changed when he’s introduced to the music of The Boss, Mr. Bruce Springsteen, by a classmate of his. All of a sudden, he’s found someone he can relate to in Springsteen and his music speaks to him unlike anything else.
Finally, a proper film about music!
As I said before, Blinded By The Light could have very easily fallen into traditional music biopic territory and personally, I find many of those types of movies to be very dull and predictable, and often historically inaccurate. Just read anything about Queen’s history and you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen Bohemian Rhapsody.
What Chadha wanted to do instead was tell a very compelling story about growing up, being an outsider, and living in a place where everybody sees you as being different. She does this by using the music of Springsteen, and it ended up being a touching and moving story which is accentuated by Bruce’s lyrics.
Some people may see the film as being “emotionally manipulative”, but personally I have no issues with going to the cinema and having my emotions tested. It’s why I go every week. I want to cry, to laugh, to wince, to jump with fear, and that’s what cinema is supposed to do, so I often find it a little bit puzzling why people get so upset with a film that attempts to make you feel those emotions.
Make me feel all the emotions
When it comes to Blinded By The Light, Chadha has succeeded in crafting a film which will take you on an emotional journey, if you let it, accompanied by the beautiful words and sounds of Springsteen, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Yes, the film can be a bit saccharine, a bit too sweet, and even a tiny bit on the nose at some points, but the musical backdrop, the setting, and the film’s excellent performances help it to move beyond your average coming of age flick.
I really felt like Blinded By The Light is an important film, not only because it reaffirms how brilliant Bruce’s music is, but it also has a lot to say about the current political climate we are currently in and how it’s very similar to that of the eighties in Britain. Chadha shows in some parts of the film that we haven’t moved forward and that what was going on then is still happening today.
I was genuinely surprised by how Blinded By The Light managed to strick a chord with me. Going into the film, I was a bit sceptical, especially after having seen Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, which I felt had very little to say. But what I was greeted with was a film which has a voice, has a sound, and really wants to put forward what’s actually important in life.
Meanwhile, why not have a read of our articles on the five reasons why Tom Holland in the best Spider-Man ever, the five best movies in the MCU, and our explanation as to why Tomorrow Never Dies is the most underrated Bond movie ever.
You can also have a read of our reviews of Playmobil: The Movie, The Lion King, Yesterday, Toy Story 4, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Avengers: Endgame, Hellboy and Glass.
In the meantime, why not rewatch Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham, which you can purchase here!
Blinded By The Light is in cinemas across the UK now.
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