Alan Kerr’s review published on Letterboxd:
The soundtrack is of course great, and it could have been an incredibly timely message that really hit home with the state of the world at the moment, but God, i'ts just so cheesy.
I'm a big Springsteen fan, so it was cool to see his music and lyrics celebrated in this way, but so much of the film just comes across as cheap and amateurish. The performances are mostly weak, only occasionally digging deep and delivering something genuinely moving, and the cinematic, romantic storytelling of Springsteen's songs is always at odds with the bleak, washed out English housing estates. Maybe that was an intentional juxtaposition, but for me it didn't work.
I would have liked it if it had taken a page out of this year's Rocket Man or the Beatles based musical Across The Universe and added a little more fantasy and dreamy artistic flair to the musical sections. When you have the character supposedly literally singing out loud, acapella, in the streets, in the faces of NF Neo Nazis, and everyone just thinks that's fine, its incredibly hard to swallow.
The actual personal and family story was good, and they did a good job of connecting that to the Springsteen songs, but it was all very surface level. It reminded me of a British kids school drama - like I was watching an episode of Grange Hill or Biker Grove that dealt with racism.
Also, they used both The Promised Land and Born to Run twice. They are great of course, but Bruce has like a million songs. What's that about.
The Boss deserves better, and while I applaud the film for trying to be a positive story about family, togetherness, antifacism, hard work and following your dreams, I wish it wasn't so, SO cheesy.