Beyond The Lights
When you get past its standard romantic drama trappings, Beyond The Lights makes some pretty strong statements about the use of women in entertainment and the lack of artistry in the music business.
Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), with her power house voice and sexy body, has been groomed from a very young age for stardom and is on the verge of conquering the pop music universe. She should be on top of the world, but she soon finds herself overworked and stressed out on a hotel balcony ledge ready to give it all up. She’s saved by LAPD officer Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker), who is on the fast track to a life in public office. Two very different lives, but a lot of very similar pressures, the two find comfort in dropping their public facades around each other.
Thisis a scathing commentary on the music business today within a genre framework with its look at the hypersexual portrayal of women and valuing image over talent. Writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood crafts an engrossing romance and a passionate parable. Mbatha-Raw (who does her own singing and is bound to be a household name after this and last TIFF’s Belle) and Parker and their amazing on screen chemistry, but the message of being successful on your own terms never gets lost in cheap theatrics or clichés..
Don’t sleep on Beyond the Lights. It’s got a good shot at being the crowd favorite of the festival. (Dave Voigt)
Saturday, September 6th, 6:00pm, VISA Screening Room (Elgin)
Sunday, September 7th, 8:30pm, Scotiabank 12