Blinded by the Light movie poster

Blinded by the Light

In theaters August 14, 2019


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117 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , ,

In the late 1980s during Margaret Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister of Great Britain, British-Pakistan Muslim, Javid (Viveik Kalra), is introduced to the music of American Bruce Springsteen. While factories close around him and his father (Kulvinder Ghir) loses his job, Javid finds music he can get behind and rally his spirits around in Blinded by the Light.

Javid is an aspiring writer who sees very little future in either writing or his hometown Luton, a suburb of London. Living in a traditional Pakistani Muslim home on a council estate (you know like an American subdivision with modest tract housing) he shares his parents’ house with his sisters. His mother takes in laundry, his sister sneaks out to daytime raves to cut loose, and his very traditional father wants to see Javid in a college economics course instead of wasting time writing poetry or essays. Javid is disillusioned with everything around him, from the poor economy to the rising racism from white nationalist who blames immigrants for unemployment. His father doesn’t respect him as a creative, and despite having lost his own job continues to wear a suit to the job center. At a very low point, Roops (Aaron Phagura), a fellow classmate and Sikh, ask Javid is he’s heard the gospel of The Boss, and Javid’s life is irrevocably changed. Javid can completely relate to Bruce Springsteen’s music as the American chronicles like in small-town America, the loss of jobs and its devastating effect on men, women, and families. He feels energized by the lyrics of wanting to break free and get out and make a difference. Javid then has to balance his fracturing homelife with the emerging creativity, and world events that threaten to destroy everything.

Haley Atwell plays Ms. Clay, a journalism teacher who encourages Javid to find his voice and tell the works what he sees and how he feels. Dean-Charles Chapman plays Javid’s best friend, Matt, who is grabbing his dreams of being a musician by the horns and living his best life as a person Javid can never be – a white Briton riding the crest of a drastically changing cultural landscape. Javid’s questions are answered with lyrics and Springsteen’s words travel in a kinetic dialogue of their own as they become another character, the Greek chorus of Javid’s life. It makes Blinded By The Light a coming of age film that focuses on the soundtrack of our lives and the driving force behind our own ambitions. I didn’t expect to like this movie, I mean, let’s face it, we’ve got a lot of musicals in 2019, but I enjoyed nearly every minute of it. At almost 2 hours, it starts to feel long about the middle of the third act, and I think it could have benefitted from a little more editing. It’s social without being preachy, and the events of 1987 don’t drag the movie down to history lesson, keeping it light and not too tightly focused.

Blinded By The Light (2019) is rated PG-13 for the use of racial slurs, lots of drama between Javid and Malik, and more than a little casual racism, with some brief fisticuffs thrown in.

Blinded by the Light is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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