‘Beyond the Lights’ goes beyond stereotypes

By Kimberly Rodriguez
Aztec Gold Online

It’s been six years since “Love and Basketball” director Gina Prince-Bythewood has produced a movie, but the wait has proved worth it with her latest film “Beyond the Lights,” which is now in theaters. BTL is a romantic movie I would most definitely recommend. It’s a four-star movie about the obstacles Noni (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) must face as a rising superstar. If you’re into a movie that will bring intense emotions out of you, this movie is the right one to watch. Noni is a young, talented and determined girl who will go to extreme lengths to please her over-bearing mother (played by Minnie Driver), even when it’s for the wrong thing.

The story behind pop star Noni begins with her and her mother and manager Macy Jean. Her mom’s desire for fame takes her on an endless journey, filled with the struggles of being on the rise of fame. For a long while, Noni is going through the motions of being famous but she isn’t really living her life or enjoying the career she was given. She feels suffocated and is ignored by her mom – even when she attempts to throw herself over a balcony. When she hits rock bottom, she is saved by police officer Kaz (played by Nate Parker).

Kaz also faces similar problems. His dad is constantly forcing him to strive to be the politician he wanted to be; and although he has the potential it’s not what he wants. These conflicts lead to a relationship challenged by the hardships of both their personal lives and careers, together they must prioritize what’s important and what is holding them back.

It definitely has many twists and tear-jerking moments, which I loved. Prince-Bythewood, who also wrote the script for the film, did a great job capturing the audience’s attention. I grew to love Nina and Kaz, and feel resentment toward their parents for trying to keep them apart. The only negative point I have about the movie is that they could have added more to the background of Kaz’s character. I felt like the character appeared from nowhere. Besides that the movie was developed in a great form. In my opinion, “Beyond The Lights” is a must see!

In an NPR interview with the director, Bythewood revealed that she grew an inspiration for this movie and others she’s made because of her goal to remove the stereotype attached to many “black” movies. She made this movie in hopes of eliminating those opinions. She believes that a good movie is a good movie, whether the ethnicity of the actors or director is white or African-American, it shouldn’t be relevant. Hopefully the audience will see her point of view!