Blinded by the Light: Film Review

Writer/director Gurinder Chadha is known for movies like Bend It like Beckham and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging – and now she brings us another lovely movie, Blinded by the Light.

Viveik Kalra stars as Javed Khan, a British Pakistani living in Luton in the 1980s. He hopes to get out of Luton and go to university to be a writer but his father (Kulvinder Ghir) wants a different future for his son. He is overbearing and becomes even worse when he loses his job at General Motors. We follow Javed as he starts college, wows his English teacher Miss Clay (Hayley Atwell) with his writing, struggles to find a job to help his family, and become obsessed with Bruce Springsteen and his music after an introduction by his friend Roops (Aaron Phagura).

The film basically follows Javed while he uses Springsteen’s music to get him through life, but the main focus is the fraught father and son relationship. His father is stubborn and demands a lot from his son and won’t bend to meet him halfway. This relationship struck a chord with me and brought me to tears towards the end. Although it is a period film, the depiction of how minorities were treated and how the National Front gained momentum feels as relevant as ever today.

This is all interspersed with scenes of Javed running around the streets listening to Bruce or having a sing in public (with Rob Brydon has his mate’s dad no less) so it doesn’t feel too heavy. Plus the ending is very optimistic so you leave feeling uplifted and positive.

Kalra is a very likeable lead. He’s cute and lovely and you can’t help but feel for him and wish he wasn’t “born in the wrong time, in the wrong place and the wrong family”. You hope he finds a way to be happy with his lot. Dean-Charles Chapman and Phagura offer good support as his friends, while Nell Williams is cute as his political activist girlfriend Eliza. But the main players were Atwell as the supportive teacher, who gets Javed to see his abilities, and the family – they are the heart of the story and their relationship was portrayed well.

Blinded by the Light is slightly too long and doesn’t have the biggest storyline, but it’s just such a lovely watch. It is fun, feel-good and cheers you up. You should come away with a big smile on your face.

In cinemas from Friday 9th August 

(Rating: 4/5)

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