A coming of age drama set in the 1980’s featuring a Springsteen obsessive. Hmmm I’m naturally inclined to like this and having seen the trailers online the rest of the family were thankfully up for it as well; the only question then was when to go. So in the midst of a family road trip and having had an early evening meal we were pleased to find that Blinded By The Light was showing at the cinema opposite our Travellodge.
Javed is the put upon teen weighed down with family commitments, the expectations of his traditional father and about to start 6th form college. Whilst he’s fulfilling the role of the dutiful son he’s also going through the growing pains of trying to maintain a friendship with his more popular childhood friend and neighbor Scott and avoid the increasing number of skinheads and racists that seem to be frequenting Lutons streets.
Though his Dad is concerned with academic success as a route to a good job ( He’s allowed to choose Doctor or Lawyer) Javed is already secretly drawn to writing and once introduced to Springsteen through some loaned cassettes it’s Bruce’s music that serves as a focus for Javeds teenage obsession and creative awakening which in turn lead to romantic and scholastic success.
The music of the Boss providies the soundtrack for Javed’s life and a prototype for the person that Javed could be and it’s this musical clothing which Javed wraps himself in with the intensity of the true teenage believer. Music can make a difference at so many times in our lives but there is a righteous zeal which embodies our teenage musical choices when we’re seeking identity in how to look, what tribe we belong to and how to act often through the lyrics of a three minute record. This musically assisted transition that Javed undertakes with all its teenage certainties
before the compromises and conmplications of adult hood is as central to the film as the wider cultural and political issues of integration, racism and social change that are also present.
As its title suggest Bruce’s words and music are fundamental to the story and the film isn’t shy about how it uses the songs. As well as being used in the background, lyrics are spoken in conversation, sung between characters and literally written large on screen. At times this is not subtle but what musical is and theres a charm about this as there is throughout the film so that I was more than happy to go with the musical flow. I wonder whether any thought has been given to a stage version?
The film is directed by the same director as Bend it like Beckham and I’m sure that the hope is that it will crossover into the mainstream in a similar fashion. Theres certainly some marketing push taking place if the number of bus side adverts is anything to go on.
I’m interested to see how those that aren’t already committed Bruce fans find the film. As I said at the start I’m of an age and a number of Bruce concerts where I’m inclined to like the film based on its subject matter alone and I came away smiling. In fact looking around the faces of the audience as we left everyone was smiling and that is probably the best endorsement you can give to as film that seeks to be a feel good film; we all felt good after watching it.
Predominantly older couples but this was the 8:20 show on a Saturday so our family brood wasnt the norm.
It made me think..
I should have brought more tissues, sniff.
We need to dig out our Sing Street DVD again
When is Bruce going to tour again?