Another Take On Beyond The Lights

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Another Take On Beyond The Lights

The pressures of fame and persona have up and coming singer Noni on edge. Suffocated by a lack of self-expression and the pressures of living up to the hip-hop lifestyle she’s been forced into by her ambitious mother, Noni looks to end it all. Driven to the point of suicide, she is rescued by strikingly handsome (and I mean, no one looks like that) NYPD officer Kaz (Nate Parker) who helps to break down her walls and find her true self, broken but beautiful.

At its best this is your classic romantic film with beautiful on screen chemistry and a stunning solo performance by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, a British actress on the rise. At its worst it can feel a little soap opera, but in truth, although writer and director Gina Prince-Bythewood brings nothing new to the genre (expect for a nice twist in that our star is running from fame and not achieving it) this is a brilliantly put together romance. Love & Basketball director Gina Prince-Bythewood delivers a commercial romance that’s surprisingly rare, never pretending to be something it isn’t, it’s simple yet artistic. This film has your classic villain, Minnie Driver takes the form of Noni’s mother and manager so intent on fame she’s forgotten to make her daughter happy, the handsome love interest, true blue and looking to change the world and not forgetting the broken artist whose voice has been muffled by fame and success. These are all clichés, but they’re honest ones and for that, I applaud this film.

Beyond the Lights’ tenderness and soulful delivery eliminates all remnants of the TV movie premise and I simply cannot wait to see another performance by Gugu whose performance, supported by somewhat under-rated Nate Parker brings a true beauty to this film and when they end up together…you’ll love it!




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Films, games, Godzilla and Scott Pilgrim; these are the things that Alex loves. As he tries to make use of the fact he’s always staring at a screen or in a book, you’ll hopefully be treated to some good reviews along the way (though he doesn’t promise anything).

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