From the director of Bend it Like Beckham and Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging comes a completely different film of a whole new caliber. Gurinder Chadha brings a film to the table that, in my opinion, will stay with the viewers just as her previous films have. With a talented cast, a great set of classic songs, and some fantastic cinematography you couldn’t ask for more.
Starting with the cast, I’ll say that I didn’t know 95% of the cast was before this movie but I can say that after watching the film I won’t forget these actors after their performances. The main character, Javed Khan, is newcomer Viveik Kalra and I was blown away by his ability to pull at my heartstrings and fist pump at the same time. While his character or arc is nothing fresh or new to the film industry I was thoroughly impressed with his performance and the range he was able to show the audience. He was most definitely the standout for me. One other actress stood out to me. I know her work outside of this movie and I was interested to see how she’d do in this movie. Hayley Atwell is a staple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I was pleased with her performance in this movie. She plays a teacher at the college that Javed attends and she portrays everything I hope to be as a teacher. She was so encouraging and so uplifting throughout the whole movie. She exuded a passion for her kids that I hope to have someday for my students. Hayley Atwell did an extraordinary job of leaning into this part. The rest of the cast kind of fell by the wayside. But I mean that in the best way possible because not a single performance was flat. I think they did a great job at complementing the main character without taking the shine away from him.
This movie does a great job with its content but I’ll say at the same time that it was pretty formulaic. Yes, we knew how the ending was going to be and most times it seemed a bit predictable but that was my least concern. Many people could relate to the story line and I think it’s rather eye-opening for those who didn’t grow up in the 80’s. I, for one, never knew that Pakistanis endured such harsh treatment from the people of England. I think this movie also correlates very well with today’s political climate. But I didn’t feel overwhelmed with the politics and conflict of the movie because thankfully the story line only touched on it briefly and quickly drove our attention back to the main story line.
I will say that I am not usually one for the whole lyrics or graphics being thrust onto the screen but these were really well done. They were sparse so they weren’t present for every lyric of every song. I’d also like to take a minute to appreciate the cinematography and editing. Every shot was really well done and thought out.
The movie comes in at a little under two hours so it’s a bit on the longer side but I never caught myself wanting it to be over or wondering when it would be over. Every minute was packed with intent and had the audience (me) wanting more and more. I was not expecting to really cry at all during this movie but it threw me for a loop. Several instances near the end of the movie had me wiping tears left and right. Seriously, if you seen it, how can you say you didn’t cry at the part where he buys his mom’s jewelry back (They had to sell it so they could stay afloat in the economy) and gives it back to her. If you didn’t you’re a monster.
One of the most important things for this movie was the music. If you couldn’t tell the movie is centered around Bruce Springsteen’s song list. I’m not a huge fan of his music but after hearing it I think I could listen to it more than I did before. This movie was the perfect way to express what being a fan is like.
I honestly can’t believe this movie doesn’t have more hype than it does. It has everything a movie needs and more. It’s a great coming-of-age story that tells the audience to chase your dreams no matter what but don’t forget the people that helped you along the way. I wouldn’t be surprised if this movie got some Golden Globe recognition but I think it’ll fly under the radar come Oscar season. We do, after all, have 4-5 months until Awards season so we’ll see! Go see this movie! I promise you won’t regret it! It’ll make you feel all your emotions.