“Blinded by the Light” takes fans on an emotional rollercoaster

Mackenzie Bernas, Staff writer

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Photo by Helena Savage

By Mackenzie Bernas

Frankly, I saw the movie Blinded by the Light just for the sake of watching a movie since there were no end-of-an-era movies out like Avengers: Endgame. The plot line was much like a distant relative I’ve heard a few confusing things about but ultimately decided to hang out with.. But fast forwarding all the way to the familiar credit roll, my emotional roller coaster was unabashedly displayed on my face, and I looked over to see the person next to me dabbing away tears. It wasn’t the kind of movie that gives someone goosebumps from intense martial arts, but it was the kind of movie that sucked the audience in by being surprisingly relatable. 

Despite the cultural differences and time period, Javed, the main character, still had to deal with the timeless problem of normal teenagers. To be fair, he had faced cruel discrimination for being Pakistani in Britain, and his parents discouraged him from college, so his life did have much more severe problems. So it boiled down to Javed’s family not understanding him, and his desire to be a writer. A friend at Javed’s school gave him a tape to listen to, and it changed his life. It was a tape of songs by Bruce Springsteen— aka: The Boss. The first song he heard was Springsteen’s rousing “The Promised Land,” and the lyrics made Javed feel like someone finally understood him. The song describes Springsteen’s belief in a promised land which Javed likely associated with America and its opportunities. Springsteen also sings about how he’s wasting time working in his father’s garage much like Javed who is also working tirelessly for his family while neglecting his own desires. Not only does Javed relate to Springsteen’s belief in a better life, he also relates to Springsteen’s wish to cut the pain out of his heart, and especially because he was in a very bad emotional state when he pressed play to”The Promised Land.”

Even with the teenage main character, I found that older audience members could look back at their time in high school, and enjoy the 12 Springsteen songs that help drive the movie.

This movie also drags the audience along into mostly fits of anger, boatloads of empathy, and hopes for the main character. I didn’t get the chance to notice that I was gritting my teeth when Javed’s family was treated so terribly for being Pakistani. 

I do find myself wondering how Javed’s life would have turned out without his obsession with Bruce Springton to proliferate the turning point in his life like when he listened to The Promised Land and picked up the poems he originally threw away. It also made me value music’s importance as an art form and how it can speak to everybody in some way. Despite Springsteen being born and raised in America with an American family, Javed can relate to almost every word of his songs, and does what he can to get others to appreciate Springsteen’s passionate songs about leaving the past behind for something better. Some of the songs played in the movie are “Blinded by the Light,” “Born to Run,” “I’ll Stand by You,” and “Hungry Heart.”

At the emotional end of the movie, the audience is filled with the kind of happiness that blurs one’s eyes with tears and a satisfaction of how his life turned out in the movie and real life. The credits suddenly reminded me that this was a true story as it showed pictures of the actual people portrayed by the characters. Overall, I found this movie very enjoyable and relatable with unfamiliar, but talented actors getting the rise of all sorts of emotions from the audience.