by Kyle Arango
Movies about popular vocal artists and bands have suddenly become immensely popular as of recent. Queen, Elton John, and The Beatles all have gotten theirs recently and some have come with huge accolades. Now it is time for Bruce Springsteen but instead of it being about him, it is about the influence his music has in Blinded by the Light. By doing this music thing differently in a film, will the risk pay off? Absolutely it can. Blinded by the Light not only met my expectations but exceeded them by telling a feel good, honest, and raw story about how anyone can be who they want to be.
In Blinded by the Light we follow Javed who is the son of a Pakistani father and a family that has traditional values. They immigrated to England to start a new life but have not let go of their values. Javed feels forced down by his culture and through the songs of Bruce Springsteen, goes on a journey of discovery of who he truly is and not who others want him to be. A coming of age tale as told through the power of music is not an unfamiliar concept. It actually is one that is almost guaranteed to be great with every entry; Sing Street and Begin Again come to mind. What this movie does differently however is take songs the audience is already familiar with and uses those lyrics to show and tell how Javid is feeling at that point in his life. They actually show the lyrics. When he puts on those headphones and the music starts playing, the filmmakers put the lyrics on the screen for the audience to read along and also sing along is needed. If ever you are unsure how Javed feels in any given moment, the film rescues you with this technique. It is engaging and smart in the uniqueness it uses these Springsteen songs.
While the influence of the Springsteen songs is the primary focus of the film, there are other aspects they explore that further expand the message. They really dive into the Pakistani culture and just how heavy of an influence it has over their people’s lives. Being an audience member, it was nice to be put into their shoes and get a glimpse into their culture. They are very heavy into working hard to support the family and listening to the father. Being a teenager who has passions for writing and things outside his culture, you can see how those forces would clash. However, what this film does so well is never portray anybody as the bad guy. The father and son collide constantly and keep each other from doing what they want, but you see where they both are coming from. Viveik Kaira and Kulvinder Ghir are incredible as father and son and brings the earnestness and compassion needed to make this story work. Viveik especially in the lead just has that draw where you immediately can’t help but root for him to achieve all his goals. This film just spews heart with every step of the way and makes you want to have a story like this of your own.
Blinded by the Light is that feel good, heartwarming story that comes by every once and awhile that sweeps you off your feet into a world where anything is possible. I had never been a huge Bruce Springsteen fan but after actually listening to his lyrics and understanding what they mean, I have a new appreciation. This film is about finding what inspires you and never letting that feeling go. You take it and use it to make life what you want it to be. I loved this movie and promise after you see it, it will make you want to run into the streets singing Born to Run at the top of your lungs.
The Verdict: 5/5 Stars