Directed by Gurinder Chadha
Written by Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha, & Sarfraz Manzoor
Based on Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll by Sarfraz Manzoor
Starring Viveik Kalra, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Kulvinder Ghir, Dean-Charles Chapman & Nell Williams
Release Date: August 14, 2019
Running Time: 1hr 57min
Javed Khan (Kalra) is a British teen of Pakistani decent growing up in Luton, England in 1987. Amidst the racial and economic turmoil of the times, he writes poetry as a means to escape the intolerance of his hometown and the inflexibility of his traditional father. But when a classmate introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javed sees parallels to his working-class life in Springsteen’s powerful lyrics. As Javed discovers a cathartic outlet for his own pent-up dreams, he also begins to find the courage to express himself in his own unique voice.
I saw the trailer and it sounded right up my alley. I love 1980s nostalgia, I also enjoy Bruce Springsteen, plus I’ve seen a couple of the director’s other films which I thought were delightful.
The film has received positive reviews from critics (being called the “feel-good movie of the year”), and also received nominations for Best Film and Best Actor (for Kalra) at the 2019 SIFF Awards.
This movie is absolutely amazing! Funny, heartfelt, and full of fantastic music; I especially enjoy seeing Springsteen’s lyrics being incorporated into scenes and popping on in the screen. Seeing the political climate of the time, there are definitely some parallels to the things still going on in the world today, the most obvious of course being the prejudice aimed at people of middle eastern descent (we should be doing better).
The entire cast does a great job, but it’s lead actor, Viveik Kalra who really holds it all together. He brings a very relatable likability to the character of Javed, and I think anyone who remembers being a frustrated teen looking for their place in the world will immediately understand his struggle. He has his selfish tendencies, but that makes him a better rounded character, we are all flawed. Kulvinder Ghir is also wonderful as Javed’s father, a man stuck on tradition but who clearly loves his family.
Should you see it? Absolutely! Especially if you’re a fan of 1980s nostalgia and the music of the Boss!