From flashing lights, to vulgar lyrics, a little twerking & showing some skin, the movie “Beyond the Lights” is a modern day love story. Telling the tale of Noni, played by the beautiful Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kaz, played by the sexy Nate Parker.
Noni is a superstar on the rise, whose drive is rooted in satisfying her mother. She looks like she’s living the “good life”. She has the fortune and the fame. Her looks, her life, her happiness it is all envy-worthy, yet it is all a superficial facade.
In the midst of the fame Noni has lost herself. The one thing she seems to hold onto is this somber Nina Simone song (Blackbird) that she sang at her first singing competition. The lyrics go “So why you wanna fly Blackbird, you aint ever gonna fly… Cos you mama’s name was lonely and your daddy’s name was pain, And they call you little sorrow cos you’ll never love again…”
These dynamic lyrics, overwhelmed with melancholy seem to be the essence of Noni’s life and the true state of her emotions. A depression so deep that it leaves Noni feeling unseen, hanging over the edge of a hotel balcony, ready to jump. As she slips off the edge of the balcony she’s saved only by the grace of Kaz’s grip. Kaz, who is Noni’s security detail for the night struggles to pull her back to safety and from there Kaz & Noni’s love story begins…
“Beyond the Lights” starts out a cliché storyline but blossoms into a captivating love story. Touching on issues such as superficial industry standards, depression, and self-love. The movie was written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, who is also responsible for the classic love story “Love & Basketball” (an all-time favorite of mine). Reviews raved that this movie was just as good as “Love & Basketball” so I had extremely high hopes for this film. In my ‘biased’ opinion “Beyond the Lights” was a good movie… but it definitely wasn’t “Love & Basketball”.
“Beyond the Lights” premiers on November 14, 2014. You can see the trailer below.