Run time: 117 mins
Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha’s heartwarming coming-of-age fable pits the music of The Boss against a murky backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain.
Torn between cultures, young Pakistani immigrant Javed (stellar newcomer Viveik Kalra) finds himself increasingly at odds with his old-school dad’s rigid cultural expectations. Things aren’t any less stormy outside the family home where the British social fabric is starting to fray, thanks to a sputtering economy, high unemployment and a toxic backlash against immigrants.
After a starry-eyed classmate introduces him to Bruce Springsteen, Javed discovers a working-class dreamer whose lyrics resonate with his soul. Finding the courage to challenge his father and follow his ambition of becoming a writer, he sets out on his own search for meaning, resulting in a book, now this film.
This film accentuates Springsteen’s words through its visual storytelling by letting them speak for themselves, highlighting how his lyrics speak to Javed’s life without the need for cloying sentimentality. An anthem to the importance of music, it is a joyous, feel-good romp that celebrates creativity, freedom and learning to define one’s own destiny. (Research Chris Coetsee) Unbeknown to Javed, The Boss had read his book. So endorsed this film, and by doing so – Luton. Well done Bruce.