Review: Blinded by the Light

Viveik Kalra plays a Luton teenager in 1987 who becomes inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen. Javed (Viveik Kalra) jostles between the music of Springsteen and his love of poetry and the expectations of his very traditional father, played by Kulvinder Ghir. Hayley Atwell and Rob Brydon join us on this feel good adventure while we also get appearances from Game of Thrones duo Dean Charles Chapman aka Tommen Baratheon, who plays Javed’s friend Matt and Nell Williams who played a young Cersie in GOT and Javed’s love interest Eliza in this film.

Blinded by the Light is directed by Gurinder Chadha ( Bend it like Beckham) and her optimistic and feel good style is felt throughout the film. However, Chadha also portrays the issues of Luton in 1987 quite well with the racial tension between the growing Pakistani population and the white supremacists/ nazi sympathizers of the time. We also get an interesting, if a little stereotypical portrayal of a Pakistani family and the rift between a creative son and his desire to become a writer and a traditional father who wants him to pursue a more academic, more financially rewarding career. These issues act as the real bones of the story while Springsteen is the sort of means through which Javed finds both solace and inspiration.

A New Jersey singer who sings about growing up in the USA and a 1987 working class Luton aren’t exactly a natural couple but the two worlds merge well and somehow feel like they belong together. Viveik Kalra shines in the starring role and really brings the music of Springsteen to life. Nell Williams is excellent as Eliza, Rob Brydon is predictably solid and a good source of comic relief while Dean Charles Chapman, Hayley Atwell and Kulvinder Ghir also contribute significantly to the film.

This film is not really about Bruce Springsteen as a person, rather it’s about the power of his music and what it represents. It’s quite clear that this film was made with a great love of Springsteen at the very heart of it. It is a simple yet profound and very likable story while songs such as Born in the USA and Born to Run act as the chorus of the story and provide even more reason to watch.

8/10

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