Blinded by the Light is a comeing of age tale set to an all Bruce sound track, not just playing the music but with as many direct quotes as possible. It is a feel good movie about a lonely, Pakistanis teenager in the late 80’s during a time [regrettably much like now (we’ve gone backwards)] in Europe where anti-immigrant sentiment was high and the economy was awful.
Javed’s family is very traditional, his father runs the family and he is expected to get a job as a lawyer in real estate. But Javed wants to be a writer. He wants more than the small town he feels trapped in and the small life his family is living. Is there more out there? Can a Pakistani Eurppean expect more? He is working toward his A levels so he can go to University. He makes a friend, Roops who introduces him to “The Boss” and thus the movie really starts.
The movie uses music through out the film to show how Javed is thinking about things and relating to his world. Bruce Springsteen’s Lyrics are super imposed on the screen as they take on significance to Javed or he quotes them as the meaning hits him. As he gains more and more confidence in himself he uses Bruce’s voice to help him express himself. Eventually he finds the strength to use his own words.
The scene where he first hears Springsteen’s music is powerful and effective. You see the music take hold of Javed as he looks around his world and the two different worlds blend perfectly. As Javed says, “he speaks to me.”
My second favorite scene is the complete music video for Born to Run in the middle of the movie. While it would seem indulgent, it is joyous and shows their sense of complete freedom. These are teenagers who see the world through a singular lens. They want to share it, it brings them joy, but are they seeing everyone else?
Javed’s foil, his father, played by Kulvinder Ghir, is struggling so hard to provide for his family. He has a beautiful scene with his wife where he shows a moment of vulnerability. He is supported so well by Meera Ganatra, they have lovely chemistry.
The end of the movie had me in tears and our theater clapped as the credits rolled. This did not happen for the last rock in roll movie I saw! It took me back to seeing Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in the theaters as a little kid and seeing people sing the songs and cheer at the end. This movie had both joy for the music and a good story! Go see it and sing along!
Blinded By The Light (US Release Date 8/16/2019)
Director Gurinder Chadha
Cast Viveik Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir, Meera Ganatra, Aaron Phagura