I really wanted to like this movie. REALLY. Unfortunately, already the trailer suggested that it could be a weak feel-good story.
People say you shouldn’t trust trailers, but I disagree. You shouldn’t trust good trailers. A good trailer can still be behind a shit movie. It’s when they can’t even get the trailer right that you have a problem.
Here’s the said trailer:
You see what I mean? The jokes are sort of funny but you also have the feeling that the “best” parts of the movie are all in there. What’s the premise, though?
Javed is a British guy of Pakistani descent. He lives in Luton with his working class family. They’re struggling financially but this isn’t the only problem Javed has. He also doesn’t have a girlfriend, he finds his family too traditional and he needs to deal with racism and prejudice. He also wants to pursue a career in writing but his father is against it.
That’s quite a handful for a teenager. Fortunately, Javed meets Roops who introduces him to Bruce Springsteen. This and meeting Eliza, changes everything.
I’ll start with the positive. It’s definitely nice to see such a story on screen. The conflict between the protagonist and his family reminded me a bit of The Big Sick. The actor playing the protagonist is hot, which never hurts. The music is good and the movie is easy enough to watch. It gives you a good feeling after watching it too. BUT…
There’s a lot of indecisiveness about what this movie is really about. Is it a story of finding your voice or something completely else? The focal point is the protagonist but it’s difficult to say what is being said, as there are too many things happening at the same time.
It seems like the movie is going in one direction and then, suddenly, it all changes. It reminds me of when Dickens was pressurised to change the ending of “Great Expectations” by his readers.
It’s not only the plot that’s ambiguous and confusing. The same goes for the genre. The characters randomly break into singing but it isn’t really a musical. It’s almost like the British are not being very decisive these days (perhaps Brexit’s influence?), given that a very similar technique was used in both Yesterday and Rocketman.
It’s not the worst movie in the world but apart from signalling certain issues it just doesn’t actually say much. Plus, some of the feel good ideas make it quite cringeworthy. There’s this one singing and dancing scene in particular, when a protagonist sings to a girl he likes at a market and some randoms join in, when I wished I wasn’t alive to watch it.
The movie didn’t feel genuine to me, the characters and interactions between them felt phoney and forced. It may be because the movie is not so much based on a true story as inspired by it and the scriptwriter was being stubborn about the feel good aspect of it to the point that it ended up being cheesy.
All in all, remember that life is short so unless you LOVE Bruce Springsteen go do something else. Even if you love Bruce Springsteen you may prefer to go for a run when listening to his records.
Sorry for all the harsh words but they’re well-deserved. I can’t believe it was made by the person behind “Bend it like Beckham”!
Have you seen “Blinded by the Light” yet? Any movies you want to tell me not to watch because you’re a nice person?