Movie Review: Beyond the Lights
Yesterday, I previewed the romantic drama Beyond the Lights, which will be in theaters on Friday, November 14th. I was excited because this movie was on my must watch list. Not only did I get courtesy tickets but I was able to preview the movie ahead of the release date. The film is another one of Gina Princebythewood's, who have given us films like The Secret (which I haven’t seen) and Love & Basketball. Love & Basketball is to date one of my favorite romantic movies and now I can now add Beyond the Lights to that short list (read on to find out why). The #BeyondTheLights story is built around an unlikely romance between Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) a talented British star on the brink of super stardom, and Kaz a young LAPD officer (Nate Parker) with political ambitions. The two met as a result of Kaz filling in for a friend, on a job that his father Captain Nicol (Danny Glover) calls “celebrity babysitting duties.” Only to find himself saving Noni from a suicide jump off the balcony of her hotel room. Kaz and Noni thou worlds apart had one underlined commonality – they were both the product of preplanned packaging, with their single parents running tight shifts.
Some thought the movie was predictable. But predictable or not, you find yourself rooting for the charismatic co-stars - who captivated the screen with their melodramatic romance which was about to derail the plans of their parents. Kaz’s dad didn’t think Noni made the perfect first lady, while Noni’s mom (Minnie Driver) thought the rapper Kid Culprit (Colson “MGK” Baker) was better for keeping her daughter on top of her aggressively sex-selling game.
Beyond the Lights of super stardom
Noni who was a transformation of what everyone else including her mom needed her to be, struggled with the pressures of her superstar lifestyle. She had lost her identity, which was replaced by a super-sexed up persona - that Kaz so eloquently calls “face-down, ass-up.” It was particularly refreshing to watch Noni gradually free herself from the shackles of her stripper attire, heavy makeup, fake nails and rainbow weave. To reveal, the realness of a young lady who only wanted someone to see her for who she really was. Noni found strength in Kaz’s love, strength that gave her the footing to finally fire her mommy-manager and take back her life. On the other hand, Kaz found strength in Noni’s courage to finally tell his father, that their idea of success are not the same.
[Tweet "be authentic, live life on your own terms by walking in your truth. #BeyondTheLights @labelsbynicole"]
The underlined message… let go, find your voice and open your heart. My take away, "be authentic to yourself, live life on your own terms by walking in your truth." The film also tackled a topic I've written about on several occasions – the objectification and self-objectification of women in the music industry. A norm, which is so common place in mainstream media that it is normalized, leaving women in a struggle to win the battle of the mirror. And the result, diminished dignity, broken spirit and shame.
I give Beyond the Lights a thumps up. Get your tickets and go see it, as your takeaway maybe different.