BLINDED BY THE LIGHT (2019) movie review by Gwen Hughes

From Bend It Like Beckham director, Gurinder Chadha, comes this coming-of-age story of a young British Pakistani teen and his love affair with the music of Bruce Springsteen.

Set in Luton, England in 1987, Javed Kahn is busy trying to complete high school, while helping his controlling father earn a living for their family. Poetry and journals are his only outlet.

But when Sikh student, Roops, joins Javed at lunch and introduces him to ‘The Boss,’ Javed discovers a new reason for living.

Viveik Kalra’s brilliant performance as Javed perfectly captures each one of us the moment we discover art that speaks to our heart: invigorated and forever changed. A montage of Javed singing in the street, with lyrics schmeared across the screen is admittedly, cheesy, but gets the point across.

Surrounded by blaring synth, gravity-defying hair, and oodles of neon, the two friends marvel at how an all-American artist from New Jersey can to speak to them through decade-old records in rural England.

Now all Javed needs is a cut-off-at-the-shoulders flannel shirt and a denim jacket to complete his transformation. With a newfound confidence, Javed spits on his bullies, gets the girl, and dances to the beat of his own drum.  

Despite his new-found joie de vivre, his non-traditional dream coupled with hate crimes and financial hardships, raise doubts that Javed will ever achieve his ambition of making it out of his stultifying hometown.

The power struggle between rock-obsessed teen and tradition-focused father may seem cliché, but Javed’s story evokes all the emotions of Springsteen’s oeuvre in an hour-and-fifty-minute, heartwarming package.

For Springsteen fans this movie is a must-see. Many of his classics get their very own, extended montages and reverence for The Boss permeates this small-town story.

(Now streaming on Hulu)

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Gwen Hughes is a seasoned writer and the Editor-in-Chief at Madison Park Living magazine. When she is not working, she enjoys reading short stories, quoting John Mulaney Netflix specials, and eating family-size boxes of Mott’s Fruit Snacks. 

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