I am not just reviewing Beyond The Lights because it was nominated for Best Original Song in the Oscars. No, I wanted to see it even before that!
However, yes, I am having the review out this week because of that fact.
I wanted to see it because I heard good things despite a somewhat Lifetime movie looking trailer. I wanted to see it because it was a mainly black cast and it had nothing to do with Kevin Hart or Tyler Perry. Some of their movies are terrible, sure, but at least they are actually increasing the amount of color that our TVs can show. So it is always exciting to see someone else do something to break the trend or lack of trend.
Oh hey, wait. It is British? Never mind. This means nothing now.
It can’t even help our current opinions about law enforcement!
Just kidding. Despite starring British people, it is actually American overall. Go back to flying our flags proudly, folks.
Since Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was a little girl, her mother (Minnie Driver) has been focused on her career as a singer. She was entered into talent contests and her mother would not let her settle for second place. Her mother raiser her alone and always wanted her child to succeed.
Now, many many years later, Noni is about to win a Billboard award with a collaboration with Kid Culprit (Machine Gun Kelly). It is very impressive, since she hasn’t even released her own album. She has just been on three of his tracks and they have all been super popular. Yes. Now is the time for her to break out and get one of the best selling records of all time.
But Noni doesn’t feel happy. Maybe she hates her relationship with Kid. Maybe she hates selling her body for success. Maybe she hates her mother deciding every part of her life. Maybe she just feels fake. Either way, she decides to end her life. She is saved last minute by the current cop watching her room, Kaz (Nate Parker), who calms her down and makes her feel like an individual.
And won’t you look at that. A relationship might come from it too. Sure it starts in an awkward place. He kind of saved her life. There is some awkwardness that might make people question its long lasting-ness. Especially since Kaz himself is only going to be a cop for a little bit. He wants to run for office, a political kind of guy. Being with a pop star might make people question his seriousness.
I am sure none of that will come up though. Also featuring Danny Glover, who is still too old for this shit, as a cop.
When your mom encourages an outfit like this, you know you might actually be a doll.
And then I enjoyed a movie about a pop star struggling with the music industry and feeling like a real person. Of course I did. Put it that way, it sounds brilliant. Sure, first world problems a bit, but everyone should understand the need to feel loved and important.
The romance in this picture feels very realistic and that is actually refreshing given the last few “romance” movies I have seen. They have problems, they have outside forces telling them one thing or another, and they have their own issues to work through, but they try things out and give it their best shot.
Both Mbatha-Raw and Parker give great performances. Driver is a straight up bitch, but it all fit for her character. Hell, I might not have completely hated her by the end either.
Overall, a good romance/drama. And uhh, the songs are decent too. I guess. (It won’t win).
3 out of 4.