James Milstead’s review published on Letterboxd:
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT (12)
D: Gurinder Chadha
Entertainment One/Levantine/Bend It/Cornerstone/Ingenious (Jane Barclay, Gurinder Chadha & Jamal Daniel)
UK 🇬🇧 2019
W: Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha & Sarfraz Manzoor [based on the book "Greetings From Bury Park: Race, Religion & Rock 'n' Roll by Sarfraz Manzoor]
DP: Ben Smithard
Ed: Justin Krish
Mus: A.R. Rahman
Viveik Kalra (Javed Khan), Hayley Atwell (Ms. Clay), Kulvinder Ghir (Malik Khan), Dean-Charles Chapman (Matt), Nell Williams (Eliza), Rob Brydon (Matt's Father)
I'll be the first to admit that I am nowhere near the target audience for this comedy-musical fantasia, which would explain why I found it a big, dull dud.
Set in 1980's Luton (a town not far from the borders of London), a Muslim teenager from a strict family struggles at his school, making friends against a backdrop of unemployment and racism in Thatcher's Britain... that is, until he discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen.
Based on a true story, it presents a noble message about a shy boy finding his voice, unfortunately this moral is so far buried amongst anti-Tory agitprop that I was surprised unemployment in 1987 wasn't blamed on Brexit!
Masquerading as a diverse commentary of 1980's Britain, this film doesn't tackle the issues it raises, especially when compared to films released around that time like My Beautiful Laundrette (qv).
Personally, I think personal politics should be left out of films, especially if you ignore important facts (Labour's statistics against unemployment didn't fare much better, especially since they closed down all the local job centres) and filmmakers cram it with their own personal bias.
Some people might enjoy this, but I found it to be a preachy, politically liberal arselick with boring characters and an incredibly dull plot.