Blinded by the Light of Bruce Springsteen

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Blinded by the Light

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is a coming of age tale set in a small town in Britain. Javed (VIVEIK KAIRA) is a British young man of Pakistani descent. His father and mother (KUVLINDER GHIR, MEERA GANATRA) both emigrated from Pakistan for a better life. But this is the UK of the 1980s, and teens walk the streets wearing swastikas. Pakistani homes are assaulted with grafitti, and Pakistani men are attacked on the street.

Javed is uncertain what path his life will take, but he knows he doesn't want it to be the path his father puts him on. He writes lyrics for his best friend, Matt (DEAN-CHARLES CHAPMAN), who fronts for a rock band, and he dreams of going to London to make it on his own there.

His life changes, however, when he bumps into another student, a Sikh, who is listening to cassettes of Bruce Springsteen. For him, Springsteen is a way of life, and he shares the music with Javed. Almost immediately, Javed's eyes are opened, as Springsteen's music and lyrics speak to the life around him, the hardships and the struggles.

When his father loses his job, Javed, his sisters, and his mother, must pick up the slack to keep the income levels where they need to be, while his father looks for work in an environment growing less friendly to Pakistanis. And when Javed becomes aware that Springsteen is going to be playing a concert nearby, he secrets some of his income away to pursue his own dream, creating a serious rift between him and his father when this is found out. But nothing deters Javed from his life's main goal: to become a professional writer.

Based on a true story, BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is part biopic, part musical, part music video. It isn't as showy as ROCKETMAN, but the way the filmmakers make the lyrics part of the scene is a bit of magical realism that elevates this above your simple "teen discovers rock and roll" story. It has a gravitas and a lightness to it, all at once, with many characters who each have their own depth and their own purpose in Javed's life. Definitely worth the watch.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0