Beyond the Lights

Critics Consensus

Thanks to smart direction and a powerhouse performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Beyond the Lights transcends its formulaic storyline to deliver thoroughly entertaining drama.

84%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 92

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,251

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Movie Info

Though she's been groomed for stardom all her life by an overbearing mother (Minnie Driver), singer Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is having trouble dealing with her success. Feeling unable to cope any longer, Noni tries to kill herself, but luckily Kaz (Nate Parker), the police officer assigned to be her bodyguard, thwarts her suicide attempt. Noni and Kaz feel an instant attraction, but those in their orbit oppose the romance for fear the pair will stray from the course planned out for both of them.

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Critic Reviews for Beyond the Lights

All Critics (92) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (77) | Rotten (15)

  • The movie takes audiences from loud, sexy, music videos to the quietness of two people falling in love over a box of old song lyrics, all without missing a beat.

    March 31, 2020 | Full Review…
  • It's not enough to compel cynics like myself, but it will likely touch the heart of romantics everywhere.

    September 1, 2017 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • You'll walk away from this film lighthearted and wanting to hold someone's hand.

    March 21, 2017 | Full Review…
  • In every scene here, Prince-Bythewood calmly and sensitively melts our resistance to the outlandish, outsized quality of her plot and stays true to the message she wants to deliver without ever getting pious or preachy.

    January 5, 2015 | Full Review…

    Dan Callahan

    TheWrap
    Top Critic
  • Given its pedigree, its roster of talent, Beyond the Lights is disappointing.

    January 5, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Has the elements of a classic backstage story, but they don't quite crystallize into an integral drama.

    December 1, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Beyond the Lights

  • Jul 07, 2015
    A cop saves the life of a suicidal rising star, and they begin a frowned-upon romance. While the film's heart is in the right place and its depiction of the music world is a well-aimed barb, there is something off about the pace and plot of this film. It is essentially an emotional, over-wrought scene followed by a montage, followed by an emotional, over-wrought scene, and the plot points of the romance are awfully quick and - you guessed it - over-wrought. The characters jump to conclusions that no real, reasonable lovers would reach, and when the plot calls for a sincere moment, the film settles for a montage that doesn't reveal enough about their journey. Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker are acceptable in their roles, but in their tender scenes together, there's something insouciant about much of their acting, as though the characters they create aren't making real and vital decisions. Overall, Beyond the Lights would have benefited from reworking its plot and stronger performances.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 09, 2015
    Despite predictable cliches and one really boring performance, Prince-Bythewood still constructed a surprisingly low key and mature love story. For something I assumed would be terrible, it's a remarkable accomplishment.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 17, 2015
    Striking just the right amount of emotion without being too sappy, "Beyond the Lights" tells the story of a pop-star submerged in stardom, with no freedom from her mother, as she tries to grasp the concept of true love and reality. Fame can be hard, and this film explores both that and the ideal of a happy life without it. I absolutely loved how this film as executed, and it;s smart script isolates itself from any cliched story that may be similar to it. It distances itself from the predictable story you think it will be and opens your mind. "Beyond the Lights" helms a breakout star performance, a great script, anice balance of terrible and good music, and I thoroughly believe that this is a fantastic film that could have failed miserably. Overall, I highly recommend this film, especially to those who are skeptical or have no idea what it is.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Feb 14, 2015
    The usual tale of glamour in the spotlight and learning to find yourself because you cannot cope with it all. Very well performed with some actually really good songs. This surprised me and was far more entertaining than the synopsis will have you believe.
    Ian W Super Reviewer

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