Beyond the Lights

Open your heart. Find your voice.
Open your heart. Find your voice.


D: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Relativity Media/Homegrown/Undisputed Cinema (Stephanie Allain, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Ryan Kavanaugh, Amar'e Stoudemire & Sharon Tomlinson)

USA 🇺🇸 2014

116 mins


W: Gina Prince-Bythewood

DP: Tami Reiker

Ed: Terilyn A. Shropshire

Mus: Mark Islam

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Noni Jean), Nate Parker (Kaz Nicol), Minnie Driver (Macy Jean), Danny Glover (Capt. David Nicol), Machine Gun Kelly (Kid Culprit)

This small independent film from 2014 isn't without its flaws, but is certainly carried by two strong lead performances who make a very likeable on-screen couple.

The plot follows Noni Jean, a pop singer whose career is practically ruled by her overbearing mother. On the cusp of huge breakthrough success, she is saved from a suicide attempt by a young police officer with political aspirations and the two embark on a romantic relationship which could affect both of their professional journeys.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw really steals the show here with her breakthrough film performance, performing her own singing in a role which was tailored for her to keep her native British accent.

It does feel a little like a version of The Bodyguard for a younger, more modern audience, but it is quite well done and the performances make the characters realistic, even during the scenes which are a little unconvincing.

The overall theme about being true to oneself overrides the rather unrelatable one about the pressures of fame which occupy the first half of the movie.


Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond The Lights
Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond The Lights
Did You Know:
The film was originally titled Blackbird, but there were multiple movies with the same title coming out the same year, this was eventually changed.