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Blinded By The Light

Through the music of Bruce Springsteen, he found his dream

What Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham did for football, her effervescent latest does for Springsteen. And Sony Walkmans. And double denim. For viewers of a certain age, there’s loads of easy ’80s nostalgia to feast on. Blinded By The Light is about connecting with music in a way that finds you a tribe and respite from your worries.

Poster for the Boss-influenced musical comedy Blinded By The LightThe film is set in a London suburb during the bleak end of Thatcher’s 1980s, and its hero, Javed (Viveik Kalra), is a British-Pakistani teenager who writes poetry, dreams of escape and gets his spirits crushed daily by his ultra-strict dad. But when his new friend Roops (Aaron Phagura) chucks him a couple of Bruce Springsteen tapes, salvation arrives in the form of The Boss’s uncannily relatable blue-collar anthems. ‘Bruce knows everything I’ve ever felt,’ he marvels.

Based on a book by journalist Sarfraz Manzoor (who also co-writes), it’s peppered with the kind of loving details that can only be real. Javed’s sister chops onions in swimming goggles, while it takes the whole family to jump-start his dad’s old banger. Javed’s musical epiphany comes during the Great Storm of 1987, which has him spinning through the tempest, lost in The Boss’s tunes. With the lyrics pinwheeling across the screen, it captures the exhilarating eureka moment of discovery. Like the film, it’s a bit cheesy. And extremely hard to resist.

– Phil De Semlyen, Time Out

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