Blinded by the Light is a feel-good movie based on a book called Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll by Sarfraz Manzoor. Manzoor is the real-life inspiration behind the film who found freedom and motivation in Bruce Springsteen’s music.
The plot is set in the 1980s in Luton, England. Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) is the son of Pakistani immigrants who struggle to make ends meet while also battling racist attacks. Javed feels out of place in school as his home life is strict and purely focused on Pakistani traditions. Cultural expectations weigh heavily on Javed and as a result he suppresses his personality, has low self-esteem, and hides his desire to be a writer from his entire family. He ends up feeling more constrained after his father gets fired from his factory job after 16 years, leaving Javed and his mother to maintain the family financially.
One day he meets Roops at school, who ends up giving him two tapes of “The Boss”. After listening to Bruce Springsteen’s music, Javed finds his lyrics immediately speak to him and decides to change his life, despite his father’s strong disapproval.
Blinded by the Light is the kind of movie you go to watch when you are sick of big Hollywood movies and just want an upbeat story packed with eighties music and nostalgia. While the plot tackles serious topics such as racism, cultural restraint, gender equality, and family suppression, it doesn’t take away from the feel-good and victorious tone of the story.
Other than the quality script, the eighties outfits and music are what really stand out. It doesn’t go overboard with big hairdos and silly outfits but it’s enough to acknowledge the style inspirations of the decade, like Springsteen, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Prince.
While the movie is inspired by Springsteen’s music, he is not the only one included in the film, there are others like the Pet Shop Boys, A-Ha, and many more that help bring on the nostalgia. Fans of Springsteen will be delighted to learn that the soundtrack contains a previously unreleased Springsteen song “I’ll Stand by You” which was originally written for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
There is only one main criticism of Blinded by the Light and that is the portrayal of female characters, there are four main women that have strong roles in the film, yet their characters are quite underdeveloped compared to the men. Had the writers fleshed out these roles a bit more, the story would have been spot on. 7.5/10
Blinded by the Light is in cinemas Oct 24.