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366. Blinded by the Light; movie review

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Title : 366. Blinded by the Light; movie review
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Cert 12A
114 mins
BBFC advice: Contains racist language and behaviour, moderate bad language

'The feel-good movie of the year? A must-see beacon of joy? You won't stop smiling?"
Yes, yes and yes. For once, a movie poster doesn't exaggerate. Blinded By The Light is every bit as good as its billing.
This is exactly the type of movie which 2019 has needed. Fresh, original, funny, beautifully scripted, poignantly acted and with a sensational soundtrack.
And let me make it clear, I am not a Bruce Springsteen anorak. Sure, I like his music but I am not among the army of fans who have seen his concerts dozens of times.
Nevertheless, this movie, based on a young man trying to make his mark in the 1980s, resonated on many levels.
It stars Viveik Kalra as Javed - a frustrated writer who is struggling to find direction because of the demands of a traditional Pakistani home in unemployment-riddled Luton.
Indeed, he sees no way forward until a college pal (Aaron Phagura) introduces him to the music of Springsteen.
This is where I became both fascinated and surprised because I hadn't explored the meaning of his lyrics and certainly hadn't imagined them applying to a young British Asian.
Anyway, Javed's tale has echoes of East Is East as he tries to reconcile being a modern ambitious young Brit with being dominated by a stereotypical Pakistani father (Kulvinder Ghir ).
Meanwhile, his story is set against a backdrop of rife and often violent racism against immigrants.
It is fair to say that the description of Gurinder Chadha's film doesn't grab. Indeed, when I explained its premise to our daughter she opted out of watching it with us.
But its writing and acting give it wonderful depth and prompted half a dozen hearty laughs as well as reflection upon some of society's ignorance.
Kalra is an excellent lead, bringing great empathy from his audience.
Meanwhile, the film chimed so much because, among other touch-points, I was fulfilling my ambition to become a writer in the early 1980s, drove an Allegro like Javed's neighbour and even had a girlfriend in Luton.
But, more than that, this adaption of Sarfraz Manzoor's true story, evokes 1987 -a year when, against the odds, the pendulum was swinging in my direction.
Mrs W had agreed to marry me and my beloved Coventry City won the FA Cup. Not even Bruce Springsteen sang about that!

Reasons to watch: Really is the feelgood film of the year
Reasons to avoid: Slightly corny ending

Laughs: Six
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 9.5/10

Did you know? When Bruce Springsteen was in third grade, he was stuffed into a trash can under his desk…by a nun. She apparently told him that that’s where he belonged.

Final word. Gurinder Chadha: "I went to show him (Bruce Springsteen) my director’s cut in New York while he was on Broadway. He said, “Thank you so much for looking after me so beautifully. I love it. Please, don’t change a thing.” And that was it. That was his involvement." Uproxx

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