“Beyond the Lights” was beyond predictable. I have to admit that I was very ambivalent about going to see the film and figured that if I didn’t make to the cinema it I would always be able to catch it on cable.
A fan of the film posted on Facebook that it made him/her believe in love again. Whoa. Really? That’s not what I got from the film. Maybe because I’ve seen the story a couple of times before. This one gave a glimpse into the life of a popular (fictional) musical celebrity, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who is on the cusp of even greater fame.
Unfortunately, we see that some of that notoriety comes with its own baggage, not the least of which is being marketed like a commodity, where even though you’re the boss you’re really not the one in charge.
The little girl who made the rounds – at her mother’s insistence – and paid her dues at numerous talent contests eventually makes it big with her “momager” in tow. Fueled by her mother’s insistence that second place is never good enough, she aims to please her and everybody else at her own expense.
Her cry for help as she tries to jump off a balcony goes unheard by her mother, and the only one who “sees” her and her obvious pain is the police officer who happened to be standing in for the one who was appointed to provide security outside her hotel room.
Officer Katz, played by Nate Parker had the body of an Adonis but he lost me whenever he had to say his lines. He spent the entire movie looking so intense that my stress level was up by the time the credits rolled. Even when he delivered a memorable line (even though I can’t remember it), it just didn’t come off as natural.
The pop star wasn’t the only one who was overly influenced by a parent. The “hero” policeman was starting to position himself for a run in politics because his father thought it was the natural progression after his stint on the police force. Unfortunately, his association with a singer known for performing in various states of undress would not a good First Lady make.
Luckily for him, she finds herself, which includes telling the truth about why she was hanging from the hotel balcony that night. Coming into her own meant divesting herself of all the props that we think being a celebrity requires – extra hair and nails included.
And as she was able to sing her own songs, get help for her issues, find the man of her dreams and be her natural self, we can assume that she eventually finds true happiness.
Sweet – and predictable.