A beautiful, sexy, singer/raper named Noni, who is played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, hates her life because she is pushed around and exploited as a sex symbol instead of using her singing talent to pursue the music she really has a passion for singing. Minnie Driver plays Macy Jean, Noni’s over bearing mother who goes along with any and everything suggested for her daughter’s success, even if it’s not what’s best for her. Depression sets in and Noni is on the verge of suicide. Enters Kaz, played by Nate Parker, who proves to be her knight in shining armor. Watching Noni’s transformation into the person she ultimately becomes, makes for an interesting movie. I’ve never seen Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a role like this. She really made me believe she was the character she portrayed. Danny Glover plays Captain Nicol, Kaz’ father who is also a bit over bearing. These 2 parents (Macy and Captain Nicol) can be considered control freaks but loving and concerned about their children. Beyond the Lights was a tad bit slow near the beginning but picked up nicely and stayed entertaining throughout the remainder of the film. India Jean-Jacques played Noni as a 10 year old who knew she had a talent for singing and a love for Nina Simone, in particular, the song Black Bird. Beyond the Lights sends a pretty good message and is worth your time to see it, however if you don’t feel like spending big screen money, it’s a good candidate for DVD viewing in the comfort of your home.
[BEYOND THE LIGHTS is nominated for Achievement in Music (Original Song)]