Beyond The Lights – A Movie Review

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“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.


5 responses to “Beyond The Lights – A Movie Review

  1. EXACTLY my thoughts. I watched it after many months, and wasn’t as awed as most were. Nate Parker is handsome, no doubt, but that was where it ended for me.

    Excellent review! And LOL at your stress levels!

  2. Come back to the blog, Miss Nadine, Miss Nadine…

  3. I agree …except I’d say predictable and maybe a little longer than it needed to be…buuuut sweet. Oh and Gugu is definitely one to watch (you should check her out in Belle. Fans of history and romance…and Jane Austen will like that one). Of course, I also think Nate Parker is one to watch; I remember him from Secret Life of Bees, Great Debaters, Red Tails, Non Stop, and I’d definitely like to see more of him. And come on, Hollywood, Gina Prince-Bythewood (director of Love and Basketball) needs more shots at big screen projects. Diversity matters. Even if it is another seen it before but it’s kinda sweet romance.

    • Okay Joanne. I haven’t seen her in Belle but was looking forward to it, but missed the opportunity. I hope I’ll be able to catch it on cable sometime. I do like her as an actress, but I think sometimes it’s all about the material/story that they’re given to work with.

Am I talking to myself here?

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