MMT Quick Review: ‘Beyond The Lights’

Beyond The Lights (photo: Relativity Media)

Happy Friday MMT Family!  I hope that some of you are already out tonight at the theaters in support of Gina Prince Bythewood’s latest gem Beyond The Lights.  Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker and Minnie Driver, Beyond The Lights is a film with abundant layers, so much so that I dare not simply label it a “love story.”

The film depicts the story of a fictional singer Noni (Mbatha-Raw) who’s dealing with the pressures of fame and – through a desperate, life-threatening act – begins a journey towards self-awareness and true self-acceptance. Accompanying her is Kaz (Parker) a police officer with a bright future in politics ahead of him – who also has to accept some truths about his own journey.

Now if you’ve seen any of the trailers, it’s easy to surmise that Noni’s “mom-ager” Macy, a role delivered skillfully by Minnie Driver, plays a huge part in the pressures experienced by the her daughter. However, the layers of this film!  You know I won’t spoil, but I will say that Mrs. Bythewood is a master at drawing you into each character’s experience and coupled with Driver’s performance – the audience does come to relate a bit more to Macy’s choices and actions towards her daughter.

Okay, so many of you are going to hear from your less emotive friends that they don’t want to see a so-called “chick flick” or something similar.  I urge you to share with them this beautiful comment from a woman, named Stephanie, posted on the film’s Facebook page:

“Saw this in Denver on Wednesday, with my teen son. Exceptionally well-crafted, tastefully shot, great story, and excellent soundtrack. Teen boy said “Kind of a chick flick, but not too much…I liked it!” And we talked about it for an hour after! Not a film I would have prioritized attending, based on title/poster/IMDB – but definitely a “don’t miss” – it’s hard to find a PG-13 with substance!”

Another highlight for me?  The legendary Danny Glover, who plays Kaz’s father Captain Nicol.  Y’all know I love Mr. Glover and would watch him recite phone book entries – I’m not even kidding! 🙂  But seriously, with a standout cast, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s dynamic turn as a pop star – doing some of her own singing,  including an a capella version of  Nina Simone’s “Blackbird” – this is not a film to miss in theaters.  And to my fellow “emotives,” don’t fret. This movie will tear you down at some parts, but don’t worry – you’ll rejoice in the end.

Check out the trailer below and come back and leave a thought or two in the comments section when you see the movie. And all of my giveaway winners, you’re not off the hook! Leave some comments too. 🙂

Until next thought family, Thomasena




  1. Beyond the Lights is a fitting follow up from the creator of Love & Basketball. Great cast! The movie had its Kleenex moments and its unexpectedly placed comic relief. You get pulled into the characters’ world. The use of revisiting hair, music and jumping to show the full circle of Noni’s growth/transition while finding herself was subtle yet impactful. Good soundtrack, fashions and choreography! Go see it!


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