Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver and Danny Glover
Rated: PG-13 Romance, Drama
In this romantic drama, upcoming singing sensation Noni Jean (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is struggling to battle the demands of her professional and personal life. Complicating these aspects are her overbearing “mom-ager”, Macy (Minnie Driver), and industry-arranged beau, rapper Kid Culprit (Machine Gun Kelly).
Unable to properly deal with the many trials she is suffering, Noni attempts to commit suicide. However, she is saved by Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker), a policeman interested in politics.
Despite the shocking way they met, they soon become friends. With Kaz, Noni feels she can be her true self, which is more creative and introspective than what her mother or power brokers in the industry want. As the friendship of Noni and Kaz blossoms to love, everyone seems to be against the new couple.
Will Noni and Kaz succumb to what everyone else wants them to be? Or will they be able to thrive “beyond the lights”? Viewers will want to see!
Beyond the Lights, was well received and has become a classic love story for many viewers. Written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, Secret Life of Bees and The Old Guard), it was nominated for twenty-nine awards. These include the 2014 Gotham Awards and the 2015 Academy Awards, Black Reel Awards and International Online Critics Poll. Among nominations were also the 2015 Image Awards of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). They were Beyond the Lights for “Outstanding Motion Picture”; Nate Parker for “Outstanding Actor”; Danny Glover for “Outstanding Supporting Actor” and Gina Prince-Blythewood for “Outstanding Director”.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw won the 2014 Capri Award for “Rising Star” of the Capri, Hollywood Awards. Gina Prince-Blythewood won the 2014 AAFCA Award for “Best Screenplay” of the African-American Film Critics Association. Both the lead actress and writer+director won at the 2014 Chicago International Film Festival. Mbatha-Raw was given its Emerging Artist Award and Prince-Blythewood won its Artistic Achievement Award.
A Beyond the Lights soundtrack was released in late November 2014 to accompany the film. Artists featured on it include the film’s stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Machine Gun Kelly as their characters. Also included on the motion picture’s soundtrack are Stacy Barthe, Yuna, Nicki Minaj, Mavado and Rita Ora. Ora’s track, “Grateful”, was written by Diana Warren, who was nominated for “Best Original Song” of the 2015 Academy Awards.