Javed is a Pakistani teenager who experiences racial and economic turmoil while living in Luton, England, in 1987. He writes poetry as a way to escape the intolerance of his hometown and the stubborn views of his traditional father. When a classmate introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javed sees parallels between the singer’s powerful lyrics and his own working-class environment. Springsteen’s melodies soon inspire Javed to find his own voice and follow his dreams.
Plot: In England in 1987, a teenager (Sarfraz Manzoor) from an Asian family learns to live his life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of American rock star Bruce Springsteen.
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Runtime: 118 min
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Like a life-affirming rock anthem, Blinded by the Light hits familiar chords with confidence and flair, building to a conclusion that leaves audiences cheering for an encore.
“Gives you the courage to find your own voice.”
Javed feels out of place at his new school, where he is one of two South Asian students living in racial and economic-turmoil’d England. The other student, Roops, approaches Javed at school and gives him two Bruce Springsteen cassette tapes, calling Springsteen “the direct line to all that is true in this shitty world.”
After listening to the Springsteen tapes, the lyrics immediately speak to Javed and he’s inspired to continue writing (against his Dads wishes) and excel in Ms. Clay’s (his writing teacher) class. Steeling his nerves with Springsteen songs, Javed even works up the nerve to ask out the girl he has a crush on, a student activist named Eliza. Ms. Clay enjoys his poems and progression in school so much that she arranges an unpaid internship at the Herald. From here, he continues to impress to the point where he gets paid for his work after an article he wrote about racism is chosen for the front page. What does he do with the money he earned? He buy tickets for a Springsteen concert on his sisters wedding day.
What does his family think about all of this? You will need to watch the movie to watch it unfold.
Will we ever stop making ‘coming of age’ movies? I don’t think so. Why? Because every single person goes through this stage in their lives and there are thousands of different perspectives to cover. Blinded by the Light is based off of a real story of Pakistani teenager Javed trying figuring out his place in this world and what he needs to do to achieve it. At the heart of this story is a place where every person from every walk of life can easily relate to him. The movie flows with ease in a way where you begin to open your horizon’s and follow the journey with Javed — mixed in with a great soundtrack by Bruce Springsteen, of course.
My two-cents on the movie? We are in a place in the movie industry right now where we are using artists’ music catalogues and lives to sell movies. Are you a fan of this artist? Perfect — because this is his biopic, this is a movie featuring all of his music — come enjoy what you already know again and again. Blinded by the Light didn’t use this tactic the way I thought it would, instead you get a movie about how Springsteen’s lyrics helped a young man break the mold that was going to be his predetermined life — it’s a journey you need to be a part of. This movie gives you the courage to find your own voice.
I have to note to all the buyers out there that Black Friday is a two weeks away and this will surely be discounted in some form or another. If you need to have it now, you can grab it at your local retailer when it releases on Blu-ray and DVD on November 19th — it’s an easy recommendation, especially if you’re a fan of Springsteen… which, who isn’t?
Did you catch Blinded by the Light in the theater? Were you a fan of this movie? Will you be picking it up to own? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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