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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Inspired by a true story

Blinded by the Light (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

high schoolChild of the 1980s, British-born of Pakistani roots, Javed (Viveik Karla) has been keeping a diary, writing poems, and composing lyrics for his best friend Matt (Dean-Charles Chapman) to use in his pop-synth band. His father Malik (Kulvinder Ghir) driving him to his 1987 final high school year in the obscure town of Luton, comments on the dress of the girls (“No shame at all”) and the deportment of the natives (“Very bad behavior.”) He advises his son to emulate the Jews for their indus­trious­ness and to pay no attention to the girls as he will provide for him a wife. The kid's eye, how­ever, is on the babes and he yearns to have a girlfriend.

3 at desksIn English Lit class—his father thinks he's taking Economics—he tentatively raises his hand to identify himself as a writer, then he quickly with­draws it. Foxy Eliza (Nell Williams) raises her hand; she writes political posters. In the hall he'll meet Sikh buddy Roops (Aaron Phagura) who passes him a couple Bruce Spring­steen tapes. The words to Spring­steen's songs (“a direct line to all that's true in this world”) will open the eyes of Javed to possibilities of expressing one­self in print.

woman teacherUnder the encouragement of his teacher Miss Clay (Hayley Atwell), his neighbor Mr. Evans, Matt's father (Rob Brydon), his soon-to-be girl­friend Eliza, his sympathetic, younger sister Shazia (Nikita Mehta), and various educational boards, Javed embarks on a quest to emulate Spring­steen, which is Quixotic enough to make the story verge on a musical. His traditional father hasn't a clue—he thinks Spring­steen is a Jew—and ever tries to tie Javed to the practical in a time of economic turn­down, some­thing along the lines of novelist C.J. Tudor's protagonist: (5)

Dad worked, too, but from home. He was a writer for magazines and newspapers. Not all of the time. Some­times he would moan that no one wanted to give him any work or say, with a bitter laugh, “Just not my audience this month, Eddie.”

As a kid, it didn't feel [to me] he had a “proper job.” Not for a dad. A dad should wear a suit and tie and go off to work in the mornings and come home in the evening for tea. My dad went to work in the spare room and sat at a computer in his pajamas and a T-shirt, some­times with­out even brushing his hair.

Not the kind of life Javed's dad wanted for him.


American Bruce Springsteen's influence reached across the ocean and across generations, eventually affecting Javed's reluctant pop. His message was summarized: “Work hard. Don't give up. Respect your parents.” The movie makes it look like a ‘chicken and the egg’ scenario, ‘which came first?’ Sorting it out requires a look at beginnings, as in, (Heb. 11:7) “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” The movie is set at a time when Margaret Thatcher brought to Britain a painful transformation of a bankrupt state to a market economy. Noah's new world was also bankrupt, by the flood, and necessitated a painful adjustment to a market economy. The stage is set with, (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over­spread.” Siblings tend to pair up, and of the three Ham (the youngest) was the odd man out, so here he gets paired up with his then youngest son, Canaan.

plowingThe first Springsteen formula is, “Work hard.” (Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah began to be an husband­man, and he planted a vine­yard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's naked­ness.” Noah for his efforts got a bumper crop, but the ecology of the world had changed; the added sunshine not mediated by the antediluvian mist resulted in a stronger fermentation of the wine, so unwary Noah got unin­ten­tion­ally drunk. This is reflected in the movie when Eliza's dad pointedly serves the wine in moderation. The added work necessary to dignify Noah's labor, i.e. covering him with a garment, is represented in “Blinded” by the fifty bundles of clothes Javed's mother now has to take in for laundry after Javed's dad lost his job at the factory in the tanked economy.

The second factor in Springsteen's formula is, “Don't give up.” Particular attention is given to Ham's youngest son, Canaan, thus encompassing all the generations alive at the time, and by implication all future generations. (Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” The Shem blessing shared in his tent with Japheth would never quit being effective. Shem progenitor of the Semites was blessed economically, making the hard working Jews to this day ones to be emulated. Japheth whose name means “enlarge” spread out enlarging his territory all over the world, “Tramps like us. baby, we were born to run”—Springsteen.

The third Springsteen formula was, “Respect your parents.” In the movie Javed's mother comes to his father to tell him the family still respects him as head of the house, who cares for them despite the loss of his job. In the biblical account Shem and Japheth show their respect by covering up Noah. Noah's (continuing) blessing puts Canaan (representing the line of Ham) in servitude to the lines of Shem & Japheth as Ham hadn't dignified the New World labor by his own initiative. The repercussions are shown in, (Gen. 10:6) “And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.” Cush was Ham's eldest son, whose name in Hebrew means ‘black’ and who largely settled in Africa. His descendants became Negro slaves, which was more an American phenomenon than British, so it's not emphasized in this movie. Eliza's folks do, how­ever, relate that Eliza had a penchant for bringing home as dinner guests boys for their shock value. One of her latest was a “colored boy.” That would indeed be a shocker, and if she should ever marry one, it would be marrying down.

Production Values

” (2019) was based on the memoir of Safraz Manzoor, Greetings from Bury Park. It was directed by Gurinder Chadha, written by Paul Mayeda Berges and Gurinder Chadha. It stars Viveik Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir, and Meera Ganatra. Kalra as a poet was good at under­playing his emotions. Kulvinder Ghir as the father is sternness personified. Hayley Atwell did well in her small role as a caring English teacher. All the actors did well, for that matter. Nell Williams as Javed's love interest was just luscious and with him made a handsome couple.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for thematic material and language including some ethnic slurs. This is not a musical per se but parts of it veered in that direction. It makes a great Bruce Spring­steen sound­track. One of his musical numbers is played after the end credits.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I liked the songs, some more than others on a hit or miss basis. The plot involves the audience with multiple issues we can all relate to. It seems to hit the middle of the road between entertainment and historical documentary—there was a lot of protesting going on. I have the feeling it would have meant more to me if I were British, but I liked it anyway.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture was cited from the King James Version, Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print.

Tudor, C.J. The Chalk Man. Copyright © 2018 by C.J. Tudor. New York: Crown Publishing, 2018. Print.