Emma Newman staff writer
“Blinded by the Light,” which opened in theaters on Aug. 16, tells the heartwarming and complexly beautiful story of how Bruce Springsteen changed the family dynamic, social life and career of a British-Pakistani boy.
Set in Luton, England, the movie is based on the life of its screenwriter Sarfraz Manzoor, known as Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) in the movie. The plot tells the untold story about the racial and familial struggles that Pakistanis in England, like Javed, had during the Cold War Era, and how Javed’s newfound love for Bruce Springsteen causes him to have both new problems and the strength to overcome his old ones.
The chronology of the story is one of the many reasons it is so enjoyable to watch. In less than two hours, the movie manages to tell a complicated story about race, music, writing, friendship and family in a way that is neither confusing nor forced. Its scenes transition from one to another brilliantly, and every new plot point seems to fit with the flow of the story.
Another impressive feature of the movie is its characters. No character is like another, and yet somehow, each main character is relatable and likable in their own distinctive way.
Most of the characters are flawed in some way, but they all have positive, redeemable qualities about them. Some of the most compelling characters in the film include selfish, yet brave Javed; his outspoken girlfriend Eliza (Nell Williams)’ his hilarious childhood friend Matt (Dean-Charles Chapman) and his excessively strict, yet loving father Malik (Kulvinder Ghir). All of these characters stand out because of their specific traits and the fact that they all make their own distinctive and necessary mark on the movie.
Although the movie was brilliant in terms of characters and plot, there was one part of the movie that had flaws: its excessively cheery moments. Two examples of this are the scene when Javed serenades his then-crush Eliza and the scene when Javed and Roops break into the music room to blast Springsteen throughout his school. Both scenes seemed forced, and don’t fit with the life-like aspects that the film conveys. Despite the over-the-top and musical-esque nature of the scenes, they are definitely entertaining and uplifting.
However, what makes this film so memorable and breath-taking is neither its characters nor its scenes. It is the sheer raw emotion, both happy and sad, that “Blinded by the Light” conveys to the audience.
Some of the best examples of the perfect ups and downs of the film include the overwhelmingly pivotal scene where Javed listens to Springsteen for the first time, the heartbreaking scene when Javed fights with his father and loses the chance to go to a Springsteen concert and the tear-jerking speech that Javed makes at the end of the movie. All of these moments were unbelievably real and touching.
“Blinded by the Light” has many amazing attributes, all of which make it uniquely entertaining. Anyone who likes coming-of-age, sad, or just downright fabulous movies should definitely see the film because it will pull at all of the right strings in your heart.
Highlights would rate this film a 4.5/5