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Beyond the Lights

Music . Drama

A talented young musician on the brink of super stardom struggles with the pressure of her new-found success.

Actors: Machine Gun Kelly , Darryl Stephens , Elaine Tan , Hayley Marie Norman , Aml Ameen , Aisha Hinds , Nate Parker , Jordan Belfi , Danny Glover , Gugu Mbatha-Raw , Minnie Driver
Directors: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Country: USA
Release: 2014-11-14
More Info:
  • Odie Henderson

    Beyond the Lights makes unapologetically damning statements about the music industry’s treatment of women, yet it never feels preachy. It strikes a risky, though successful balancing act between being immensely entertaining as a musical feature and making dramatic, important statements about depression, self-worth and female empowerment. Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    Beyond the Lights is a deft, gorgeous movie. For all its honesty, it’s never slow, and for all its criticism of the music industry, it’s never finger-wagging.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Beyond the Lights may be a fantasy — movies about love, like songs about love, tend to fall into that category — but it is an uncommonly smart and honest fantasy.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • William Goss

    The relative restraint of Beyond the Lights is practically a godsend, presenting audiences with a fairy tale grounded in something resembling reality and fractured by external circumstance as much as internal doubts.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    This is feel-good populist entertainment at heart.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Leah Greenblatt

    Both Mbatha-Raw and Parker are appealing, expressive actors, and writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) lets them breathe, filling in the boilerplate bones of the story with smartly nuanced commentary.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Gregory Ellwood

    Mbatha-Raw is shockingly good in creating both the "Noni" public persona and the real Noni.

    HitFix Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    This unusually intelligent crowd-pleaser is welcome proof that quality filmmaking needn’t be limited by subject, audience or budget.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Genevieve Koski

    Melodrama is defined by exaggerated characters and events, as well as overt appeals to emotion, and Beyond The Lights fits that mold ably and comfortably. But beneath the shiny surface of music-video imagery and true-loveisms lie some provocative ideas and deep truths about how people relate on a private level vs. a public one.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    A movie isn’t a cliché when it can sing like this.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    There's enough plot here to sink a soap opera, but the actors prevail. Parker is a no-bull charmer. Driver leaves bite marks on her juicy role. And Mbatha-Raw, so good this year in "Belle", is dynamite.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    With its focus on integrity, creativity and identity, Beyond the Lights is a rare intelligent romantic drama.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Kevin C. Johnson

    Mbatha-Raw continues to be a true revelation in a role that could be not be any more different from her star turn in “Belle” this year.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    As a work of art, the movie is merely on the bright side of OK. But as a vehicle for an emerging star, as a platform to show one actress in a variety of modes and moods, within a sympathetic and glamorous context, it couldn’t be better.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    The fact that Beyond the Lights is so effective at both celebrating and critiquing extravagance and artifice can be credited to Prince-Bythewood’s shrewd understanding of the highly pitched cinematic vernacular she’s working with. Even more crucially, when it came time to cast the transformational figure at her fable’s center, she found the real thing.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    Even when Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball) tries to pack too much around the edges (including critiques of record-industry sexism and the mechanisms of black political fundraising), the romance at the movie’s center remains credible and vibrant.

    Slate Full Review
  • Martin Tsai

    Mbatha-Raw looks, sounds and moves like an A-lister. If "Belle" put the actress on Hollywood's radar, Beyond the Lights heralds her superstardom.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Rooney

    Gina Prince-Bythewood’s entertaining music-biz melodrama is no less satisfying for the familiarity of its soapy trajectory.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Geoff Berkshire

    Beyond the Lights is a strange beast, a music-industry romance that alternates freely between wisdom and mawkishness, caustic entertainment-biz critique and naive wish fulfillment, heartfelt flourishes and soap-opera shenanigans.

    Variety Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Beyond the Lights is another pain-behind-the-music romance. But it’s so well written, cast and played that we lose ourselves in the comfort food familiarity of it all.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    By rooting Noni's self-image issues in a controlling mother, the script provides the film with a tame, melodramatic structure that dulls the thorny matters of identity and expression at its center.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The film soldiers on through a couple of possible endings, and if its real destination is never truly in doubt, Mbatha-Raw makes the trip interesting.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Tom Russo

    Unfortunately, as the story builds toward tenderness, it’s undercut with slathering tongues and bare-chested stud-muffin shots.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    The teary-eyed sincerity of the music-industry drama Beyond the Lights is at times too much, but despite its cliche elements, the film at least has the feel of a passion project.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Stephen Whitty

    The people are pretty, the music scenes are well-staged (they're supposed to be crude and corny, right?) and we've needed a silly romance for a while now. But for all its hugs and kisses, the film refuses to embrace itself.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
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