Summary: In 1987 England, the son of Pakistani immigrants discovers the voice of Bruce Springsteen.
The fourth movie heavily influenced by a music icon in the past 12 months, Blinded by the Light is based on the true story of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor who discovered The Boss at a critical, transformative time in his life. Unlike Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, it’s a biopic that’s not about the artist; rather it’s about the effect that music can have on an everyday person. Kind of like Yesterday but replace the concept and subpar love story with more cultural and age context, and you have yourself a winner.
Out of the four of those, I’d still rank Rocketman first, then Blinded by the Light. Blinded is such a heartfelt story, particularly in how the protagonist uses music to get through the hard life of a teenager. It’s a universal subject that we can all relate to and there are legitimate concerns (politics, identity) here instead of just plain old teenage angst. (It also feels so socially and culturally relevant as some of the issues are what we have today- discussion for another day.) This movie hit me in a lot of feels, mostly because you could really feel the passion and appreciation for Springsteen’s music, which I think Yesterday and the others listed above fail to capture. There’s an eagerness and genuine emotional connection to the lyrics that we can feel throughout the movie, instead of someone telling us, “This is a great song and here’s why!”
Technically, the movie’s not perfect and there are a few overly indulgent scenes (glorified lyric music videos), but it’s filled with such enthusiasm for the subject matter (the actors look like they’re having a blast) that it’s hard not to just sit back and watch and have a good time with it. And I’m not a Springsteen fan, but who’s to say what music touches which heart? I do empathize with falling in love with an album or finding a music artist at precisely the right time, or going far out of my way to getting concert tickets. It’s such a joy to find something that hits you in all the right spots and to realize how it’s affecting you, isn’t it?