Bruce Springsteen serves as the inspiration we never knew he could be in "Blinded by the Light" - a delightful coming of age film based on the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor.

With Springsteen's music pulsating through the soundtrack, this is an effective and timeless tale that manages to both pull at your heartstrings and have your toes tapping.

"Light" is set in 1987 England with Javed (Viveik Kalra), a British teen of Pakistani descent, trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life.

His father Malik (Kulvinder Ghir) wants his son to go to a good college and become a doctor or lawyer, but Javed has a passion for writing - and wants to use his passion as a means of escaping the outskirts of London, where his immigrant family is constantly ridiculed and badgered.

When a classmate introduces Javed to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javed finds his inspiration - pursuing his dreams of writing despite his family's objections.

Director Gurinder Chadha, who co-wrote the film with husband Paul Mayeda Berges, takes Springsteen's music and brings it to life with many scenes incorporating the lyrics onscreen. It's a visual style that is jarring at first, but settles in nicely - making Springsteen's music a character of its own who really pushes the films plot and themes.

Kaira captures the uncertainty of the Javed quite well. His shy reserve slowly erodes as he gets more confidence and we believe Javed is coming out of his shell because Kaira makes it seem so natural.

But "Blinded by the Light" is as much about Javed's relationship with his family as it is his love of Springsteen, and those moments really give the film it's heart and soul. "Light" has the same sense of family bonds as the recent release "The Farewell" and uses those bonds to create some compelling moments, including a final act that packs an effective emotional punch.

That sense of family elevates "Light" to another level - making it more than just an ode to the Boss, it's an ode to anyone who dares to follow their dreams.


(1) comment


Michael, Loved your review but didn't you mean: Bruce Springsteen serves as the inspiration we "always" knew he could be? Bruce's fans who have loved him for 30-40 years had no doubt at all.

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