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Blinded by the Light

Javed is 16 and yearns to be a writer. He writes poetry and keeps a journal to the dismay of his father, who emigrated to the UK from Pakistan to have a better life for his family. The film takes place in Thatcher’s England of the 1980s when economic woes rocked the country and jobs were hard to find. One day, Javed discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen, and his world completely flips. The topics the film covers, such as generational culture clash, racism, and economic blight, aren’t particularly new. What makes this film singularly stand out are two things. First, it is infused almost entirely with the music of Bruce Springsteen. And oh, what fun that is! There is a whole scene built around Born to Run that has so much joy and effervescence; it reminded me of the best parts of 500 Days of Summer. The second is the lead, played by Viveik Kalra, who I think has never had a motion picture role. He is adorable and brings such youthful passion and energy to his character. The director does well by doing a lot of close-ups of him and capturing the varying emotional experiences as he bursts out of his shell. My friend who I saw the film with said that he is like a new Dev Patel. I laughed, cried, and swelled with the awesome Springsteen soundtrack – I was emotionally wiped out afterward! Big thumbs up from me for a film that has a lot to say about the importance of friends and family and following your dreams. “No one wins if we don’t win together”. And the film serves as a huge love letter to the Boss. If you want a feel-good movie with a really positive message, go see it – I felt like I sorely needed to see a movie like this. I am going again if I find anyone who wants to see it with me.  (2019; 4.5 Stars).

About Gary Burkholder

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