By Liz Lopez
There certainly have been several films about music and musicians within this past year and the latest entry is “Blinded by the Light” based on a memoir by Sarfraz Manzoor. He is a Pakistani immigrant’s child who grows up in Luton, England, a very small town in the 1980s and what life was like for him, culture and otherwise.
Directed by Gurinder Chadha from the screenplay he co-wrote with Paul Mayeda Berges, Sarfraz Manzoor and inspiration from Bruce Springsteen’s words and music, the film is entertaining. The music is fantastic and well used to create some great visuals for what Javed (Viveik Kaldra) experienced as a teenager along with his immigrant parents. There is one scene of some neighborhood children’s action on the front porch of their home and how they endure the racism. Absolutely horrible behavior. Oh, and then there are the skinheads and their activities. The hard times get horribly worse when millions lose their jobs, including Javed’s factory-worker father, Malik (Kulvinder Ghir, “Bend It Like Beckham”). The performances are excellent and the story is good as it covers not just the immigrant experience, but also what the generation went through.
Hayley Atwell’s performance as Javed’s writing teacher is indeed inspiring, especially when he is having difficulties with his father and the toll unemployment takes on the whole family. Luckily, his classmate, Roops (Aaron Phagura) introduces Javed to Springsteen’s music and that is a major turning point for both these young men. Javed also has a crush on a classmate in the writing class, (Nell Williams, “Game of Thrones”) and the non – Pakistani political-activist, is smart and beautiful, and fully supports his writing endeavors which his father hates and thinks is a waste of time.
“Blinded By the Light” truly shows us what Javred’s American dream is in Luton, England. It may not play out like the other music films, but it is still a film worth watching (and hearing), especially if you are a Springsteen fan, although it is not required.
The film opens in theaters August 16th and is rated: PG-13 with a run time of 1 hour and 57 minutes.