Blinded by the Light (2019) Poster

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8/10
Blinded by the Light (2019)
rockman18217 August 2019
I absolutely love the music of Bruce Springsteen. When I got into his music a few years back, I instantly became enamored with his albums namely Darkness on the Edge of Town. When I saw the trailer for this, I was instantly hyped. This looked a bit like Danny Boyle's Yesterday. A film about a talented brown guy who uses a classic rock act to better his life and land a beautiful girl. I was always going to like this but I felt an identification with the character and the music as an inspiration and the idea of chasing what you believe in.

The film is about a young Pakistani high school kid who has to deal with racism and the pressures of his traditional family, in 1980's Luton, England. A friend of his introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen, and he quickly becomes influenced in all facets by the music of the Boss. Relating to the words of Springsteen, he uses this as fuel to get the girl he likes, chase his dreams of becoming a writer, and butting heads with his family namely his strict and overbearing traditional father.

Great acting all around, with a very impressive debut by Viveik Kalra. Nell Williams is beyond gorgeous. The music and use of songs in this music is fantastic. Couldn't help but sing along. Its true what they say, Bruce made songs that related to the working class and the struggles that people faced at work and in life. With all its profound lyrics as a backdrop, the film manages to touch on important issues of xenophobia (which are still present today) and the struggles that can come with familial expectations not lining up with ones own goals.

As a brown male myself who works on developing his skills and chasing a better life, I identified with a lot of this film. Heck, I even travel to Luton and Bury Park every year on vacation. So, I really felt this film. I'm all for breaking out and chasing happiness and bettering yourself in life. Therefore, I found this to be a real and identifiable film. I think if you like the work of Springsteen and the influence he has as an artist, then this will resonate very well for you. I recommend a watch for everyone though.

8/10
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9/10
Heartwarming and funny!
daxxafreeman9 July 2019
Blinded by the Light is just brilliant! It's so heartwarming, heartbreaking and funny all at the same time! I laughed, cried and really tried hard to not sing along! Sure, it's corny in parts but it adds to the magic of it. It's never gonna win an Oscar, but it's a deffo feel-good movie that will literally have you smiling from ear to ear!
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6/10
It's absolutely fine
jamescraiguk9 July 2019
I just saw this in a Cineworld Unlimited screening and, other than having seen the trailer and thought it looked ok, knew very little of Blinded By The Light. Immediately a few people got up and walked out. Ten minutes in a couple more joined them. Others waited an hour, then popped off. Some of these people - though not necessarily in the same screening as me - have added their 1-star review to IMDb. These people should have their Unlimited cards confiscated and be barred from cinemas and writing reviews permanently. Sure, it's not a perfect film - Springsteen is shoehorned in a cringeworthy number of times and the narrative has a paint-by-numbers feel to it - but it's a cheerful film with a good message: do what makes you happy and don't be a douche. Those giving the 1-star reviews really did miss the second part of the message. Look, it's an ok film. If you like Bend It Like Beckham, you'll probably enjoy this. Of you're a massive 'The Boss' fan, you'll probably enjoy this. Don't trust the 1-star reviews; it's never a 1-star film. I'd probably really rate this 5 stars, but I'm adding one just to counter a couple of those walk-outs who feel justified in tarring a film with their own ineptitude.
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8/10
Don't be fooled, this film is far more about the story than the music
coombsstephen9 July 2019
I have to confess I am a big Springsteen fan and I really enjoyed the soundtrack to this film but unlike other recent movies, the soundtrack is just that, rather than being the core of the film.

This is a great little British movie based on a true story about a British boy with Pakistani parents trying to overcome racism and strict parentage in Luton in the 80s. It is very real but also very funny.

I found it a bit of a slow burner but it really took off and a film I will be watching again.

And of course, everything is a better with Springsteen!
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9/10
The warmth emanates throughout this great film.
brian_spike9 July 2019
We went to the 11th secret unlimited Cineworld screening and had the pleasure to see this frankly amazing film. Had no idea about it before hand but found it to be a thoroughly entertaining and heartwarming film. The cinematography was fantastic, really sucking you into the story the film is telling, added to that the acting was superb, you could really feel the characters come to life making you feel each triumph and setback and get a true sense of the emotions each scene and character portrays. I would highly recommend you see this film, it really is fantastic.
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10/10
Best film of the year!
enewslettersource16 August 2019
I loved this film. It is intelligent, warm and deeply moving, a story about cross-cultural differences, growing up with one foot in one culture and one foot in the other, adolescence, identity, isolation, alienation and journey to adulthood taking place in 1980s Thatcher England, job loss, racial hostility and synth music. It's about a Pakistani family, a Sikh friend who loves the Boss (who is the Boss of us all), Sony Walkmans, tape cassettes, working for a living and having skinheads spit on you. It's about loving words, having a passion for writing, paying attention to words and the words of a fellow poet, Bruce. It's about parents, their sacrifices and struggles and the letting go. Loss. And, it's about meaning. Living a life with meaning, values and love. The film is well-written, acted, directed and edited. There is humor. There is not a false note anywhere. The only complaint I can make, and it's a very small one, because of my American ears, there were a couple of Xs I did not understand the dialogue.
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7/10
A good message
kapakra9 July 2019
I saw this at a secret screening and it's not my normal kind of film, but it is a interesting message about culture and how the ideals we are exposed to can shape us.

Sticking with it to the end brings it full circle, and that seems to be the point of the story.
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Race, Religion and Rock N' Roll ... in 1987
Vic_max17 August 2019
This story is inspired by writer Sarfraz Manzoor's autobiography.

Without really giving anything away, t's basically a story about the struggles of young college writer in a small English town. In the midst of his family's downward financial spiral ... and race relation issues of the time, he finds unexpected inspiration in the music and words of Bruce Springsteen.

It's mostly charming and has a good, heart-felt message. I like Springsteen's music but felt that the movie over-used it with all the Bolllywood-ish singing and dancing.

That said, it's amazing this movie even got made. Springsteen has never given permission for his music to be used in movies ... but he read Manzoor's book (before he was even approached) and give his approval.

There are some really enjoyable moments ... and there are times when the movie seemed to drag a bit. All in all - I liked it!
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8/10
Much better than expected
notmyproperty9 July 2019
This was one of those movies that I'd watch the trailer and say to myself "that looks good, I'll see that" and the probably wouldn't because it wasn't mainstream enough for me to go to the cinema. But thankfully Cineworlds Secret Screening was on (even though I and possibly all the people that walked out during this movie were hoping to see The Lion King early). It's throughly enjoyable, the music is great, Bruce Springsteen and Eighties Classics. It's a coming of age story to remind everyone that being true to yourself and becoming who you want to be doesn't mean leaving who you are and where you came from behind :)
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3/10
Narrative is too formulaic
markd-443777 August 2019
The acting is fresh and charming, and direction is pacy and generally engaging. But once this tale gets stuck in the tramlines of its "Bend it Like Beckham/Billy Elliot" youngster aiming to shake off parental oppression, you know EXACTLY where it's going to take you. Apart from the nasty National Front scenes towards the end, this is a film with very little tension and next to zero surprises, plot twists and turns. And if a story lacks that in a film, then it really has a problem. It descends into a series of box ticking narrative requirements. I've read the book and it was funny and humane. But this film has not really delivered on the original text. It could have been so much better with a riskier and more daring script that wasn't afraid to get off those predictable "tramlines."
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6/10
Perfect for Disney Channel.
vivated10 September 2019
The true story behind this title is tender and interesting. But I think it's a missed opportunity. It'a delicate film, with a couple of good characters, but in a way I find it perfect for Disney Channel or other super light and childish comedies. It's very didactic, full of cliché, you lose the story and hardly you can trust it. The use of Bruce songs is absolutely exxxagerated, would have been much more interesting if they appeared just on 3 or 4 crucial moments. It is all built on Springsteen songs, which is good for a super-fan as I am, but at the same time I think it's too much.
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10/10
A must for fans of the Boss
jamie-2010010 August 2019
Went to see BBTL last night at Everyman in Glasgow and loved every minute of it. The storyline is a bit movie by numbers but it captures perfectly how I felt hearing the river for the first time and the ugliness of racism and how we win. For a great night out go and see this, it will leave you with a huge smile on your face.
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8/10
Excellent Teen Nostalgia
msfttaz-8287425 July 2019
This is one of those films the self-professed "experts" (ie. film school snobs) will hate because it doesn't fit the "Save the Cat" mandated mold of "great films." The cinematography was clearly not big studio quality, though there were some genius lighting moments and interesting approaches to pulling the music into the story. Most of the cast are unknowns on their best days. The stars have brown skin and lack athletic prowess. Most will never grace the ad pages of a fashion magazine. The soundtrack is purely 80's. So, of course, my fifteen-year-old daughter and I loved it.

The acting was good, especially for an indie. The story was even better, as long as you don't focus on the core plot and whether or not it follows "the rules." Instead, relax and soak in all the subtext. "Blinded by the Light" is a beautiful glimpse into the painful subculture of people living in a world that doesn't want them. It invites open-minded viewers to experience racism in a real and visceral way. Maybe it's because I've been there - part of a brown-ish family in a white world during a time it was okay to throw slurs and sodas at those who didn't belong - but I was able to emotionally connect with the story and characters in a way I haven't done in quite some time. And I watch a LOT of movies, in every genre and budget level. If you let it, this one will touch you, pull you into its world, and make you laugh and cry. This film isn't high art. It's not tent pole, popcorn fare. But it is a great film. People walking out - sorry, but you've either got a stick up your backside or a beef with people who aren't white. The acting was fabulous, the rhythm of the film fun and flowing, and the story solid and tear-worthy for those empathetic enough to watch it through to the end. And if you possess a human bone in your body, you will smile, even when it gets "cringy" as the Brit reviewers have called it. Get over yourselves, seriously. This is a very good little indie film that will appeal to both older teens still trying to figure out who they are/if they're worth anything and their 80's loving parents, especially those of us who remember the days when it was okay for the locals to tell us "go back home" despite knowing we were born there, too.
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10/10
A raw thought provoking look back in time
gadyball-561-6190809 July 2019
A stylish exploration of British culture in the 80s, with great music throughout. So many touching moments but it is a frank portrayal and not a rose tinted look back in time that is not everybody's kind of film but is definitely thought provoking. I very much enjoyed it.
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5/10
Laid on with a trowel
nhwardle7 August 2019
Based in Luton, perhaps, but plenty of Hollywood reality in this. Thatcher's Britain, British racism, cultural differences within communities etc etc all have been dealt with better in other films. Much of the cultural focus could have been cut and pasted from 'East is East'. The film is too long and contrived, with every point being made repeatedly and without subtlety. However, the acting is good and if you are satisfied with a happy ending, this may be one to watch
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5/10
Blinded by the *hite
jasongkgreen9 July 2019
Oh dear.

The trials and tribulations of a young Asian man and his connection with Bruce Springsteen helping him through his challenges with love and family, becoming a writer in a politically active, racial, Thatcherite, 80's music environment in a repressive but loving stereotypical 70/80's Asian (Pakistani) family.

This film is confused. It's not very funny, has no great acting, is lost. It mixes a coming of age, love story, in a racially challenged time, blurring into Mamma Mia style scenes, with bad singing etc. It felt amateurish, with a couple of laughs. It just couldn't quite pull it off. It had for me a few seriously cringe moments.

I didn't hate it, it wasn't horrible and had elements of sweet, but a 5 was all I could muster. Sadly, I wouldn't bother.
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5/10
Cringe
e-soederlund9 September 2019
I feel like they could have taken any rock/pop star and made this movie. To me it had nothing to do with Springsteen, it just capitalized on his songs and overdid it. Characters that I felt nothing for, stereotypes everywhere, predictable plot from the beginning and poorly executed dance scenes. So cringy I sometimes wanted to walk away. The movie began to touch on interesting topics like racism, pakistani culture or the rise of synth music, but it didn't dare to make something of it and had no edge.
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10/10
A coming of age struggle between parent and child
musty_reviews17 July 2019
The importance of representation isn't to speak exclusively to one crowd but to demonstrate that deep down, we all deal with the same issues and problems, regardless of ability, race, gender, religion or any of the other attributes that are used to divide us. This movie isn't just about a young boy discovering his identity as a British Pakistani Muslim, it goes beyond that and depicts a coming of age struggle between parent and child.

Springsteen's soundtrack works as a baseline around Javid's transition from boy to man, through the pursuit of him achieving his dream, which beautifully represents mid 80's Britain as this bleak and hopeless space that is being held together with prayers and dreams of better tomorrows.

My favourite part is the moment Springsteen's music is introduced, mirroring a similar reaction to mine, at a similar age to an unknown band, The Airborne Toxic Event, who were also greatly inspired by The Boss. Energy radiates from the screen. The magic of Cinema never felt more alive to me than it did in those few brief minutes.

The final 30 minutes of the movie had me physically crying, an honour held by a select few, the most touching aspects were in relation to the cultural heritage of the characters and felt very close to home.

Overall, this movie hits the spot if you're looking for a feelgood film to break up the week but please don't miss the opportunity to watch this in the cinema where you can truly experience the movie at its best.
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10/10
BRILLIANT
p-dinning12 August 2019
I absolutely loved this film. It was like I'd time travelled back to the 80s. BRILLIANT
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4/10
Managed to get through it
harrymj-123-8696429 July 2019
Thanks to a Cineworld secret screening, I was made to sit through this film. It was ok in places, but cringy and weak throughout. It was afraid to have any silence, and instead would just fade in an 80's track that had no connection or relevance to the story or to Springsteen. The characters felt forced and one dimensional. Based on a true story, but not one I really needed to know.
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5/10
It tries, but fails to impress.
stevelovell9 July 2019
This evening I took the bold decision to go to the cinema to see a film without knowing what it would be before it began due to Cineworld's occasional Secret Cinema events. It turned out to be Blinded by the Light, which will be released in August. A true story about a British Pakistani lad who adores Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s and struggles with family expectations vs personal interests etc. It seemed to be all over the place and even quite bewildering and cringy in places. Although I didn't hate it, the most enjoyment I got out of it was playing "spot the anachronism" of which there were lots, but they did try hard to make it authentic. I should probably have gone to see something more predictably enjoyable.
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7/10
Great Movie With 80's Hair and Flares
martimusross10 July 2019
Blinded By The Light

I enjoyed this movie very much once I got beyond being dragged back to the 80's with the dodgy hair and flares.

The movie explored many themes and these provided the backdrop for a rites of passage of a young Pakistani man growing up in Luton. He needed to make sense of the world and this was through the cipher of Bruce Springsteen's lyrics and music.

What was good,

1, whilst dealing with racism it was presented as a feature of the time, it did not take over the movie.

2, the story was more important than realism and we had moments when the movie took off with musical numbers.

3, the whole cast did a brilliant job particularly the mum and the dad,

4, Javed play by Viveik Kalra was a masterclass in micro-emotions, the whole movie rested on this young man and he delivered the goods. Skills way beyond his years.

5, the music and graphic were great I just wish I was more familiar with the Boss's music but we were listening to Kate Bush and Duran Duran.

6, Margaret Thatcher brought a decade of pain to Britain as she transformed a bankrupt state to a market economy. It was necessary but had terrible effects on people's lives and this was shown effectively here.

This was a very niche movie, very claustrophobic and there was very little action but I enjoyed it immensely.
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1/10
It's hard to be a saint watching this.
TwittingOnTrender21 August 2019
An insulting, and insultingly bad, movie. Badly made, badly written, acting that kids in a school play would be ashamed of - what was Springsteen thinking signing off on this? Was he blinded by the virtue signalling, and did he consider that two hours of "Yah boo sucks to the racists!" outweighed the cheapness, the naffness and the naivety of this pitiful outing? It repeats the all-too-familiar tropes we've seen in previous Asian-themed movies - the overbearing parents who just can't help saying the funniest things, for example - but with the weary, worn-out look of a fifth generation photocopy. The movie can't make its mind up whether to let Springsteen sing his own songs (while the lyrics appear onscreen for our enlightenment!) or have the characters blurt them out, High School Musical rap style. (Note to writers: the former). Possibly the most cringe-inducing moment of the movie (from a large field) is when our heroes "confront" three stage-school thugs in a café by declaiming Bruce lyrics at them. Why on earth didn't we think of that 40 years ago?? The movie pats itself on the back for its excess of virtue. The racists are easily spotted, because they ALL wear braces, half-mast jeans and bovver boots. The lead character goes to an idyllic school where there are NO racists! Not a single fellow pupil calls him names or bullies him. It's all singing, all dancing saintliness at this place of learning! There's a scene where a bunch of market stall holders (yes, that's MARKET STALL HOLDERS, famous for their liberal views) and their customers sing and dance with the Muslim and Sikh leads, and another in the town hall square that couldn't be more of a rip-off of (the wonderful) Sunshine on Leith if it tried. There's a one dimensional love interest - she's feisty! She hands out leaflets - the lazy movie-maker's shorthand for "she's an activist". We first see her slouching defiantly at her desk, but when the teacher badmouths "Maggie Thatcher" she sits up and smiles, having found her tribe - her surliness lasting all of ten seconds. Speaking of Thatcher, another hilarious scene has our hero purchasing an NME (glossy full colour ad for a Bruce tour on the back page? WRONG!) at a news stand, emblazoned with "placards" that look like A4 sheets from a printer, displaying an Eighties' Greatest Hits of headlines - "Birmingham Six Appeal Denied!" "Thatcher Elected Longest Serving Prime Minister!" etc. It's absolutely laughable. The "climax" is an NF march that looks more like a bunch of kids being led to the swimming baths by school staff. Someone gets a bloody nose! OMG! Weren't the Eighties dreadful?? I won't say "avoid", because there are laughs aplenty to be had at the amateurishness of it all. But shame on those "respectable" reviewers who praised this - have some guts and tell the truth, for goodness sake.
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3/10
Subtle it ain't
dierregi5 September 2019
Pakistani teenager Javed, stranded in Luton, finds meaning in life - and a girlfriend! and a career! - thanks to the Boss.

In this fairytale, Javed can rebel against his oppressive dad without actually doing so. Javed sees his dad for who he is: a bully who exploits his slave-wife and who reigns as an absolute tyrant over his family.

However, these are "traditional ways" and Javed is a boy, so he can embrace them .... tough luck if you happen to be female in that environment.

Enjoyable first act, derailed into a predictable politically correct sermon.

PS the cast is very weak and charisma-free; positively cringe-worthy during the musical numbers.
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9/10
A Great Story of Race, Rock 'n' Roll & Rebellion
MrLucasWarHero18 August 2019
A film like this could have never been anything less than a love song, and that is just perfect.

I didn't expect much from this film originally, thinking that it would be a bit cheesy, but a fun feature with a nice story. It was all of those things, sure, but it also spoke to me on a much deeper level.

One can only imagine that the way we feel connected to this character's story is the exact same way that he feels connected to the music of Bruce Springsteen. Although he is a Pakistani boy living in Britain, he finds solace in the music of a working class child from New Jersey. In the same way any person could watch this film and, although we may not have endured the same prejudice, we can relate to the themes of struggle, belonging, acceptance, youth and understanding.

Through this character's story and his love letter to Bruce Springsteen we can share in a story as old as time itself.
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