The music of Bruce Springsteen fuels the story of "Blinded by the Light," an eager and uplifting rock ballad that's hard to resist. Your soul may be rotted if a smile doesn't spread across your face at least once. 

 "Blinded by the Light" is easily comparable to "Yesterday," the hit movie this summer with the Beatles' music as its focus. But the main difference is the Springsteen picture understands why these songs and the artist matter. It shows us how music can change us and become a part of us. "Yesterday" never really explored its premise of a world without The Beatles, but "Blinded by the Light" wants to show why The Boss' music has endured - how these songs have touched so many lives. 
 
Based on a true story, the focus is on a British teenager of Pakistani decent in a small-town in England in the late 80s. Viveik Kalra is fantastic as Javet, feeling typical awkward teen isolation compounded by white supremacists telling him to go back where he came from, and pressure from his Muslim family - especially his no-nonsense first-generation Pakistani father (Kulvinder Ghir). 
 
At his lowest point, Javet gets turned on to the music of The Boss thanks to a friend in school. It's a transforming experience. Director Gurinder Chadha drives it home effectively occasionally splashing the screen with important lyrics as Javet gets lost in the music. It starts inspiring every aspect of his life with songs about hardship and dreams. It's a powerful message about music's universal qualities as a Muslim kid in Britain finds kinship with a rocker from Jersey.
 
Even at its corniest moments, the movie is endearing. There are some darker sections featuring racist protests and violence that feel a bit out of place compared to the rest of the tone of the film, but it does provide a sense of timeliness. The leans hard on clichés in the final section, but the fresh perspective matters. Like Te Boss' music, it feels personal. 
 
EPPLER'S RATING * * * 1/2
 

RATING SCALE

* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful - The worst, an insult to movies