Blinded by the Light

Blinded by the Light

Gurinder Chadha (2019)

117min
12A Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Sarfraz Manzoor's childhood memoir was published to acclaim in 2007, with a gift of a title: Greetings from Bury Park references the district of Luton, Bedfordshire, where the journalist grew up, as well as the name of Bruce Springsteen's debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ. From this celestial coincidence springs the movie, an endearingly eager, energetic slice of multicultural life. The part-fictionalised Manzoor - here known as Javed and played by newcomer Viveik Kalra - goes against the ancestral grain of a Muslim upbringing by pledging allegiance to Springsteen's white, foreign rock music, which nonetheless fuels Javed's dreams of escape from his suburban ennui. With truth on its side, the adaptation by director Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges and Manzoor himself is predominantly comic, blending Adrian Mole with 2015's Sing Street, also set in the 1980s. Chadha confidently balances Grange Hill-style embarrassment with reminders of racism overt and casual (though snarling neighbour David Hayman is more complex than he at first appears). An appreciation of Springsteen's inspirational canon is somewhat bludgeoned into us but the film's belief in the power of music is sincere and artistically annotated on-screen. Javed's relationship with his immovably traditional father (Kulvinder Ghir) proves to be the story's beating heart, and air punching will be hard to avoid during some of The Boss's more powerful anthems.

Cast & Crew

Javed Viveik Kalra
Malik, father Kulvinder Ghir
Noor, mother Meera Ganatra
Roops Aaron Phagura
Matt Dean-Charles Chapman
Ms Clay Hayley Atwell
Eliza Nell Williams
Shazia, Javed's sister Nikita Mehta
Matt's dad Rob Brydon
Mr Evans David Hayman
Mrs Anderson Sally Phillips
Robert, Eliza's dad Marcus Brigstocke
Frances, Eliza's mother Olivia Poulet
Colin Hand Frankie Fox
Director Gurinder Chadha
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Entertainment OneGuidance: Some swearing, racist languageReleased on: 9 Aug 2019