Romantic film goes beyond the romance and the cliches


Romantic, comical, tear-jerker and dramatic; these are all words I would use to describe the new romance movie “Beyond the Lights.”

“Beyond the Lights” was written and directed by Love & Basketball’s Gina Prince-Bythewood and was released on Nov. 14. It follows the life of Noni Jean, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who struggles to find herself when she becomes a rising superstar singer. Kaz Nico, her opposite, played by Nate Parker, is a young cop obsessed with the idea of heroism. Danny Glover, who plays Kaz’s dad, and Machine Gun Kelly, who plays Kid Culprit, also make appearances in the film as supporting actors.

The song “Black Bird” by Nina Simone was a major symbol of strength in the film. The lyrics were about loneliness and pain but Noni used them as a starting point for writing her own songs. Being performed multiple times in the film, it was transformed from its traditional tune to a soul filled acapella melody by both Noni as a child and again when she’s older.

With the pressures of fame and her overbearing mother Macy Jean, played by Minnie Driver, Noni is driven to a breaking point and attempts suicide by jumping off a balcony. Kaz, who was assigned to her duty that night, saves her and pulls her up saying “I see you” in response to Noni saying “You still can’t see me” right before she jumped.

The connection between Noni and Kaz was instant and they end up falling fast in love and falling hard.

And, although this movie drowned in cliches and was seriously oversaturated with cheesy lines, it had a lot of moral integrity. Noni was such a strong character throughout the entire film and Mbatha-Raw did an amazing job in capturing the realness of what fame can do to a person. In the film, Noni cried, “I feel like I’m suffocating in the street and no one can see me.”

The film depicted that the idea of good music and real singing are constantly being overshadowed by the media’s attention to scandal and rumors.

“Beyond the Lights” challenged the intentions of the music industry giving insight of how today’s talent is greatly overlooked and how image becomes everything. The film geniusly touched on battling depression and showed how intense being in the spotlight can really be.

However, even with all the heavy stuff tugging on your heart strings every couple of seconds, the film also touched on healing and women empowerment. During Noni’s struggle, she turns to Kaz to be her rescue as he helps her find her courage and helps her to become the star she was truly meant to be. She even trades in her pop look for a no make up all natural look telling the world that that is true beauty.

When Noni finally speaks up for herself and starts to take control of her own career and life, you see a completely different woman. You see a woman who was strong enough to overcome her obstacles and you see a woman who became her own hero.

“Beyond the Lights” was a beautiful movie. If you want a good love story that also explains self discovery then go see this movie. It’s was beyond amazing.

Author’s score: 5 out of 5 stars