REVIEW: “Escapism at its Finest!” – ‘Blinded by the Light’ (2019)

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“It’s the story of a boy who, despite every obstacle thrown at him, does not give up”

Blinded by the Light follows the story of Javid (Viveik Kalra), a British teen of Pakistani descent, and his time growing up in 1987 Luton, England. Javid struggles to cope with the intolerance of his hometown and the pressure to please his traditional father, and he writes poetry to escape it all. One day, classmate Roops (Aaron Phagura) introduces him to “the boss”, aka Bruce Springsteen, changes Javid’s life and poetry forever. 

Blinded by the Light seems to tick nearly every box required for a feel-good film, without shying away from the nitty gritty. Much like Bend it like Beckham, director Gurinder Chadha once again shows the struggle faced by Pakistanis who have migrated to the UK for a better life (and their British children), only to be met by racism and bigotry, and in Blinded by the Light’scase the individualistic politics of Margaret Thatcher and its devastating effects. Not only that, but while it is a Bruce Springsteen film it doesn’t spend its entire plot glorifying Springsteen, but actually follows a relatable story. 

Blinded by the Light is a wonderful example of the power escapism through film can provide. This film allows you to get sucked into the beautiful and somewhat depressing world of a bright minded individual without getting in too deep. You aren’t left feeling sad for long, for the next moment you will feel like you’re walking on air while following Javid on his journey. It is an emotional rollercoaster of happiness, laughter and tears (the good and bad kind): escapism at its finest!

Javid is a creative mind stuck in a family of academics. Just as most creative people struggle with feeling like they don’t fit in, so does Javid. Roops finds Javid and they soon bond over Javid’s new-found love of Springsteen. He no longer feels like an outsider because he found his community through Roops and Springsteen’s music. Each creative feels like an outsider until they find someone to share their passions with, and you either see yourself in this story because you, yourself, have experienced it, or you’re still looking for that community who you can share your creative passions with.  

It’s the story of a boy who, despite every obstacle thrown at him, does not give up – something every creative relates to: the struggle to fight for your passion. To be a creative – e.g. an artist, a filmmaker, a writer or an actor – is always easier for those who are white, male, cisgendered, straight, rich and preferably privately educated. 

Javid has so much fighting against him, yet he refuses to give up. Just because he doesn’t fit into the box the bigoted society has given him, he doesn’t give up. He stands his ground and fights, and it is truly inspiring. 

Javid is the perfect example of an outsider, someone who is authentically themselves, despite the world telling them to give up. He eventually finds his crowd and he thrives. 

In summary, Blinded by the Light is the perfect film to escape into and get taken on one hell of a journey everyone can relate to in one way or another. 

Director: Gurinder Chadha

Producers: Jane Barclay, Gurinder Chadha and Jamal Daniel. 

Writers: Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha and Sarfraz Manzoor. 

Starring: Viveik Kalra, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Kulvinder Ghir, Nell Williams, Dean-Charles Chapman and Aaron Phayura. 

Release Date: August 9th