Entertainment » Movies

Blinded by the Light

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Oct 22, 2019
'Blinded by the Light'
'Blinded by the Light'  

Available digitally today!

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A feel-good inspirational true story, "Blinded by the Light" is able to mix social relevancy and crowd-pleasing antics into one of the most delightful and touching films of the year.

Javed (Viveik Kalra) is a British Pakistani teen growing up in '80s Luton, England feeling the constricting pull of his culture and family, but wanting to break free of the chains of his small town. Accidentally, Javed is introduced to Bruce Springsteen by his new friend Roops (Aaron Phagura), who tells him that somehow Bruce gets what it's like for them, even across the pond.

As Javed navigates the racism of his town, his family's financial troubles, and the constriction of his cultural tradition, he finds himself bonding with Springsteen's lyrics, which embolden him to work on his own writing and poetry, much to the chagrin of his strict father Malik (Kulvinder Ghir).

The crux of Javed's journey isn't particularly new, but it's the touches of truth that make it special. Understanding the time in England and the prevalent racism is key here, and it's fascinating to note that, at one point in the film when Javed wants to visit America, he mentions that "America is more accepting," which is distressing to hear in this day and age. Add in the specific time of the mid-'80s and all that it brings (like style, lack of social media, etc.), and the story soars in a much more real and, somehow, magical way.

The writing and acting here are terrific, with relative newcomer Kalra stealing the film and our hearts as Javed. With his good looks and endless charm, you can't help but go along on this journey with him — whether Springsteen is your thing or not.

"Bend it Like Beckham" director Gurinder Chadha utilizes Springsteen's lyrics as a part of the fabric of the film, displaying them on screen around Javed as he loses himself in the words that he so deeply relates to. It's fascinating for the audience, too, because you don't always realize just how meaningful those lyrics were. Even Javed admits he doesn't understand one particular song the way it was meant to be, and when he finally does, it opens his heart and mind to something bigger that changes his perspective on himself and his family.

These are the moments that make "Blinded by the Light" work so beautifully. It's not a perfect film, but it's one that put a smile on my face throughout and a tear on my cheek for a good chunk of the third act. It's beautiful and heartfelt, and is the type of film audiences long for but rarely seek out. It's time to spread the word: Moviegoers have a hungry heart for stories like this, and these are the films they were born to run to!

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.

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