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Blinded by the Light Review — A coming of age tale based on a true story of inspiration from Springsteen music feels like awkward dancing in the dark.

Blinded by the Light reviewWhen you you first see the title of the latest rock star-related film, I’ll bet good money that Manfred Mann’s Earth Band version of the song immediately comes to mind. I’m also willing to bet that few save for the most dedicated Bruce Springsteen fans realize that The Boss was the originator of the famous ear worm.

This is one of many missteps in this pandering devotional to Springsteen’s music, in which Javed (Viveik Kalra), a Pakistani immigrant to England learns to deal with his family, prejudice, bullying, shyness and conflicting values in the late 1980’s.

Is it just that the ’80’s are such a staple of the zeitgeist that many are willing to embrace anything with big crunchy hair and acid washed jeans? Or are the themes so relevant that any delivery method is acceptable?

Perhaps it’s just that so many of us are so enamored with director Gurinder Chadha’s work (Bend it Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice) that we’re willing to embrace all her efforts equally? I know I was really looking forward to seeing her latest.

But I was sadly disappointed. Chadha’s tone, style and message seem confused and muddled throughout. At times, when the entire village starts a well-choreographed flash mob, it feels like a music video. At other times, when the letters of Springsteen’s lyrics start pouring in and out of Javed’s ears, swirling around his head and waltzing on walls, it feels like an antidepressant commercial.

High school obsessions with musicians and their work are ubiquitous, and it’s a fine thing when they help them deal with the tortures of adolescence and a cold, cruel world. But are they feature film worthy? Maybe not when told like this.

And when the end credits reveal just how far this rockstar obsession reached into the main character’s adult life, I found it sobering rather than inspirational. I would have been fine just knowing how the music got him through a tough patch in high school. But this film seems to want to be bigger than that, and withers under the weight.

Rated PG=13

1 Hour 54 Minutes

If this Blinded by the Light review makes you feel like dancing down to the local cineplex, get times and tickets at

Blinded by the Light Review — A coming of age tale based on a true story of inspiration from Springsteen music feels like awkward dancing in the dark.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Daniel M Culp on August 18, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Great review. I don’t get the great ratings this film is getting.

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