Set in Thatcher-era England, “Blinded By The Light” tells the story of Javid Khan, a high school student who longs to be a writer. His traditional Pakistani father disapproves, and Javid is torn between wanting to please his father, and exploring all of the experiences that England affords a young man in the 1980’s. As his father plots to construct his son’s future, the two grow further apart, even as Javid’s mother tearfully pleads with her husband to let the young man have at least some freedom.
Javid, played by Viveik Kalra, is an instantly-likable misfit. In his creative writing course, he meets and falls in love with Eliza, a political firebrand whose strength rubs off on him. Newcomer Nell Williams could easily play Eliza as over-the-top, but she subtly steers Javid towards his own heart’s desires.
When a friend turns him on to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javid realizes that Springsteen is the only one who truly understands his plight, though the two couldn’t be more different from each other. This brings all of the film’s storylines and relationships to a head, which anyone will be able to relate to.
I particularly enjoyed that “Blinded By The Light” is set in there 1980’s. Some of Javid’s high school experiences are very similar to mine, which really pulled me into the story. Pleasantly, it’s not an overblown vision of the 80’s, but a realistic one, warts and all. It is especially notable that this cast is filled with real people of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. This is a first-rate feel-good film, appropriate for the whole family.