In a recent trend, movies surrounding “classic” artists have become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. Movies such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Rocketman” cover the lives of these famous musicians and the struggles and triumphs they went through to find fame. “Blinded by the Light,” which is set to release on August 16, 2019, follows this trend while being a visual and diverse masterpiece. This Bruce Springsteen spectacle juggles a timeless coming-of-age story with the struggles of a Pakistani living in 1980s England. Directed by Gurinder Chadha (“Bend It Like Beckham”), the plot follows Javed (Viveik Kalra), an Asian teenager growing up in a bigotry-riddled town. With dreams of being a writer written off by his strict and traditional father, Javed finds himself stuck within these traditional values until a friend introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen.
“Blinded by the Light” is much more than your average coming-of-age story and struggles with topics many people have gone through but have never seen represented on the big screen. With a main cast containing mainly people of color, this movie highlights a new level of Asian representation rarely seen in highly anticipated movies. Although this movie tackles the racial issues seen in England in the ‘80s, there are parallels between the racial injustice that was happening then compared to racial injustices that are still happening today. With many movies aiming to become more diverse with their representation, “Blinded by the Light” takes a huge step in the right direction.
From the moment the film starts, it features interesting and eye-catching graphics. By making the lyrics of Springsteen’s music literally jump off the screen and into the world surrounding Javed, it’s clear to see the impact of this new form of media he discovered. This is a very montage-oriented movie, but it is done in a visually and musically interesting way that still keeps the audience engaged with the story. By using montages to express changes or revelations within the characters’ lives, Chadha tells a much longer and personal story within a shorter amount of time.
Although this movie does follow the trend of movies about famous musical artists, it explores the life of an artist in a different and unconventional way. This isn’t necessarily about Bruce Springsteen’s journey to fame; rather, it highlights on parallels between Javed and Springsteen’s lives and how the music and emotions of someone else can help guide you through your own struggles. By showing how similar these two completely different people are, Chadha tells the story of Bruce Springsteen while also telling the story of someone who doesn’t have a huge social standing like a famous musician might have.
“Blinded by the Light” has set a new standard for not only biopic movies dedicated to famous people, but for coming-of-age stories in general. The advanced level of diversity and visual art portrayed throughout a movie that covers a compelling and important topic makes this a film that should absolutely not be missed.