I remember seeing the trailer for Blinded by the Light before watching Yesterday in the cinema and thinking it was a weirdly similar-sounding premise. What I hadn't realised is that Blinded by the Light is a true story, which obviously grounds it a lot more. Having now seen both, it's fascinating how much more explanation is needed for a film around Springsteen's music. Yesterday never had to reference anything: you show a shot of Abbey Road, people get it; have a signpost read Strawberry Fields and the audience is instantly with you. Despite Springsteen being a gigantic megalith of a pop-star, I think the film still made the right choice to show lyrics, to highlight The Boss's backstory, and to actively use dialogue to let us know who Bruce Springsteen is because, ultimately, a lot of people won't really know.
I count myself largely amongst them. Sure, I know of Springsteen, I could even name a few of his songs, but the film definitely showed me that some songs were his that I hadn't realised, and there are others which are pretty great that I didn't know at all. It hardly dives that deep below the greatest hits, though, so if you're a true-blue fan don't expect anything too out of the ordinary to crop up.
Songs aside, Blinded by the Light is a clever and heartwarming look at Thatcher-era Britain through an unusual lens. Getting to see a British-Pakistani family's perspective is worth the watch in its own right, but the writing is clever, the characters are well-acted, and you're never entirely sure where the story will take you next - which is doubly impressive given that these things actually happened. I will say that the lead actor strikes an occasional uncanny resemblance to a young Daniel Radcliffe, which threw me a few times (both in looks and mannerisms), plus he either can't run, or was told to run in a weird way, but not since Tom Cruise has forward momentum looked so stilted. Other than those minor misgivings though, he's excellent and creates a likeable character who's actions are at once believable and intriguing.
Main characters aside, the supporting cast is a huge amount of fun. Being a British film, you get the likes of Hayley Atwell and Rob Brydon popping up, as well as the ever-excellent up-and-comer Dean Charles Chapman. It all pieces together to create a film which is a pleasure to watch, albeit one that probably won't need to be revisited.