August 08, 2019
Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha cooks up this efficiently watchable drama about a rock fan’s yearning to become a writer
Blinded By the Light review – feelgood tale of a Springsteen obsessive
Here is a good-natured and likable movie – though machine-tooled to an internationally accepted feelgood standard – by Gurinder Chadha, who directed Bend It Like Beckham. Well, this is Sing It Like Springsteen. Or Live it Like Springsteen. It is adapted from Greetings from Bury Park, journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir about growing up in an unromantic suburb of Luton in Bedfordshire during the Thatcherite 80s, dealing with loneliness, racism, unemployment and the first pangs of love – and finding that rock music is his salvation. (The movie also shows him finding, like so many in that generation blessed with the weekly newsprint edition of the NME, that reading and writing about rock music is his salvation.)
Viveik Kalra is Javed, a young man who yearns to be a writer, to the consternation of his first-generation Pakistani-born dad, Malik, and anxious mum, Noor (there are lovely performances by Kulvinder Ghir and Meera Ganatra). Javed is drifting morosely through life, but when he first hears Bruce Springsteen on his Walkman, it is an epiphany: the Boss’s passionate lyrics about small-town life speak to him, although New Jersey is a lot cooler than Luton.
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