Dylan Majerus’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Blinded by the Light", the late August call-up I wasn't expecting, but so thoroughly enjoyed. This coming of age feature follows Javed, a Pakistani growing up in a London suburb where his people and principles are highly discriminated against, yet through one artist's morals and lyrics, he's able to persevere against his tough home life and ultimately achieve his dreams of being a writer.
The film is so compelling based on how sincere and charismatic Javed is, and how ambitious his life story was. His goals include being a famed writer, going to a university, and even finding the girl of his dreams. However, there's one major figure restricting Javed's biggest desires: his father.
Coming from a lower class family that is so disliked in England, Javed's father is a traditional man that stays in line with his culture's practices, keeping his head down as much as he can. As the outlier, he views that the Pakistani lifestyle should follow these traditions, where becoming an engineer or study economics is much more practical than writing poems. Javed thinks otherwise and is why his family is so critical of his audacious actions.
But then there's Bruce. Bruce Springsteen, aka the Boss, uplifts Javed's politically driven persona, enriching him with more purpose, attitude, and passion.
Having a girlfriend also helps. Javed's love interest in the film, Eliza, embodies the political zeitgeist between pride and prejudices. Before Springsteen and Eliza, we wouldn't see Javed go against the system as frequently. He soon inherits the "Born to Run" mentality thus pursing his dream, but also is more unrestrained i.e; playing Springsteen through the school's radio and ditching his sister's wedding to buy Springsteen tickets. His sister mentions there's a space for Pakistani's to be free, but even in this environment Javed turns to his own haven: Springsteen.
Bolstered by Viveik Kalra's powerful performance, "Blinded by the Light" is an endearing nod to those who face discrimination and as if the world is against them, even when their own parents are not supportive. Through the obstacles, Karla brightens every scene he is in. That being said, Karla's energy and compatibility with each character highlights the depth given to his personality, and despite him being an objectified minority, his talent and aura are still effective in some way.
I think that's what makes "Blinded by the Light" so wonderful. You don't have to be a Springsteen fan to enjoy this film. Surely being connected to Springsteen's discography and personal story puts in perspective to why he is so influential to Javed, but its also constructed well enough to where director Gurinder Chadha understands how the multiple angles to Javed's story can be so effective to a variety of audiences.