What I Liked:
- This movie is based on a book by journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, a Pakistani immigrant living in London with his family. I always connect to movies about immigrants because of my parents, so this movie had me from the beginning. Although my relationship with my Parents is different than the character’s is in the movie, I can still relate to seeing a family having to struggle and adapt in an environment that is foreign (and possibly hostile) to them.
- This movie also connects with me in another very specific way: Our protagonist Javed’s life is changed once he starts listening to Bruce Springsteen’s music. Changed by words he’s never heard coming from music before, changed by words written by someone else but still affecting him personally. This happened to me the first time I heard the band Metallica, namely their song The Unforgiven. I remember being so captured by the words being sung, by how the guitars were being played, and how they were presented in such a powerful video that I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. At that time, I was 13 and still mostly listening to what my Parents and older Sister were listening to. But then here came Metallica doing things with music I just didn’t know could be done, and here I still am 28 years later, still in love with their product.
- Talking about words in songs, people tend to not pay attention to them. People will sing along to a catchy beat without really knowing the lyrics they are singing which…is so sad to me. It reminds me of Outkast’s song Hey Ya, which is a song about how people stay in un-loving, unhappy relationships because that is “what they’re supposed to do”, instead of finding happiness. The song coyly acknowledges that people don’t pay attention, even singing “y’all don’t want to here me, ya just want to dance”, bookended by the catchy “Hey Yaaa’s”. I knew someone who was very conservative towards sex, but LOVED the band Aerosmith….a band who spent many years singing about sex. Since that person never actually listened to the lyrics, they never noticed that they were singing about things they were so staunchly against. Words are important. They can enlighten us or destroy us. Pay attention, you just might find a song you connect to on a deeper level.
- There’s a couple of musical numbers that I was not expecting, but they were charming as hell.
- I didn’t know that Bruce Springsteen originally wrote the Blinded by the Light song, which was made famous over 5 years later by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.
- One of my Mom’s favorite songs of all time is Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark, so I made sure that her seeing this movie was a priority; and She really enjoyed it.
- Before the movie’s soundtrack switches over to mostly Springsteen music, it’s got a lot of awesome additional 80’s tunes.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Felt a little too long at one point.
Overall: If there was ever a movie that hugged you, it’s this one; a contender for my favorite movie of the year so far.