|Blinded by the Light, based on the memoir of Sarfraz Manzoor, tells the story of Javed, a young man growing up with his traditional Pakistani Muslim family in 1980s-era Luton, England. Javed, a lifelong writer, quietly struggles with the expectations of his domineering, unemployed father who sees writing as an unacceptable career path. Javed also finds himself the target of rampant racism directed toward the local Asian population by a white nationalist group. Javed, like most of the other immigrants, survives by keeping his head down and trying to stay as invisible as possible. Enter Bruce Springsteen. In a memorably visceral scene, Javed slips a borrowed cassette tape into his Walkman that quickly begins to form the soundtrack of his new life. Javed graphically sees his thoughts and life mirrored in the Boss’s lyrics in a way that empowers him and changes the course of his life forever. |
Always a sucker for a modern movie musical (yes, I adored “Yesterday,” loved “Mamma Mia!” and even tolerated “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”), I found myself getting goosebumps at all the right moments and a little teary at all the right moments. And while I would never have counted myself among Bruce Springsteen’s fans previously, I found myself in admiration of the raw quality of his starkly powerful lyrics and was gladly swept away by Javed’s life-changing enthrallment with them and the music.