Inspired by a true story, as well as the songs and lyrics by legend Bruce Springsteen, “Blinded by the Light” is set in 1987 and follows Pakistani teenager, Javed (played by Viveik Kalra), as he discovers the righteous music of “The Boss” in the midst of economic turmoil and racial discrimination in his small town of Luton, England. There are two things that Javed looks to in pursuit of escaping his misery: his poetry and his Bruce Springsteen tapes. This so-called misery derives mostly from the traditional, stubborn views of his father, who never bothers to let Javed live his life as a normal, British teenager. However, Springsteen’s lyrics provide Javed with a temporary form of escapism from the darkness of his working-class environment and inspire him to find his voice in his family and follow his dreams — no matter how big or small they may seem.
This film is more special than inspiring. My one complaint that was a constant complaint of mine throughout the film would have to be its pace. The film is way too slow for hardly anything to happen. The main conflict within the film lies within the main character’s inner emotions that he cannot always express. Therefore, the audience spends way too much time focusing on the character’s depressed facial expressions rather than the character’s interactions with his family and peers, although Springsteen lovers will for sure enjoy the flick for its array of rockin’ Springsteen classics that score the film and sit at its core. But again, the film has absolutely nothing to do with Bruce Springsteen — just his music.
I am finding it quite difficult to praise this film but also bash it. Gurinder Chadha, the critically-acclaimed director of 2002’s “Bend It Like Beckham,” does a fabulous job with her direction of the film, and there are many hidden cinematic gems for film buffs and scholars who look close enough. However, the script is where this film somehow gets lost in translation. The idea was wonderful, as are the characters and the period the film represents, but the film is nothing wonderful. Instead, it is just simply OK.
“Blinded by the Light” had the potential to be something brilliant, but instead fell behind due to its slow-paced, melodramatic tendencies. Audiences will laugh and possibly, (just possibly), cry, but it is not a film that all audiences can enjoy. The plot although sometimes momentous lacks a story that every single person can relate to. Nonetheless, if there is one thing that “Blinded by The Light” proves to its audience, it is that the music of Bruce Springsteen’s can truly bring out the underdog in all of us. I give it a 7 out of 10 — mostly because I love Bruce Springsteen.