Friday, August 16, 2019

Blinded by the Light - Movie Review

The Movie: Blinded by the Light

The Director: Gurinder Chadha

The Cast: Viveik Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir, Meera Ganatra, Aaron Phagura, Dean-Charles Chapman, Nikita Mehta, Rob Brydon, Hayley Atwell

The Story: In 1987 during the austere days of Thatcher's Britain, a teenager learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen.

The Review:
In a world filled with formulaic crowd pleasing feature films, it takes something special to stand out. In some ways, Blinded by the Light does just that and in others it sort of melts into the sea of similar cinematic endeavors. What I like is that the movie is fun. It never gets too deep and it doesn't try to be more than the sum of it's musically tinted parts. If you love The Boss, Mr. Brice Springsteen, then you are sure to enjoy the movie because his song fill the soundtrack from start to finish and, if you didn't know, the story is about how his music inspires a young man to do crazy stuff he was otherwise scared to do.

Javed, the aforementioned young man, is played by newcomer Viveik Kalra who you would never believe is making his feature film debut with this role. He confidently plays a character with no confidence and dances his way through musical numbers as a socially awkward teenager and he makes all of it look about as believable as you would ever want. He also shows up during the more serious moments which are mostly dealing with his struggling family and some racial tension type stuff that was very interesting to see play out. I really like that the film makers added in these aspects to the film as they add a bit of weight and reality to the otherwise fun and fancy free affair.

All that being said there is in my opinion only one thing you need to know about this movie. Yes, it's fun, it's whimsical, it's a bit of a musical, it's based on a true story, and of course all that is great but again there is really only one thing you need to know. What is this one thing you ask? Haley Atwell is in the movie! If you didn't know, I love Haley Atwell and she is one of my favorite actresses. Sure, her role is small in the movie but she takes full advantage of every moment she gives us.

You know, as I'm typing out this review, I am realizing that the movie reminds me of another film I saw a few years ago that really flew under the radar but should have been a big hit. The movie is called Growing Up Smith and it deals with a lot of the same social and societal issues that this film does and in a very similar comedic way. I'm sure it's on some streaming platform so please give it a look when you have the chance.

Blinded by the Light is a fun movie that mostly pushes the correct buttons to get audiences clapping, toe tapping, laughing, and singing along. It is a Springteen's greatest hits review reshaped as a coming of age story that lightly nudges topics like racism, politics, and economic disparity. If you like the styles, trends, and technology of the late 80's, you will also enjoy the look and feel of the movie from the neon and acid washed fashions we all used to wear to the cassette tapes and Walkman tape players we couldn't live without.

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