Beyond the Lights: Mbatha-Raw–Breakthrough Performance

Gugu Mbatha-Raw gives an astonishing performance in “Beyond the Lights,” as Noni, a pop icon, who attempts suicide, only to be rescued by a reluctant dreamboat (Nate Parker).

She’s so convincing at telegraphing a superstar, it’s only a matter of time before she becomes one in real life.

It’s hard to explain why this enjoyable film, sharply written and directed by the gifted Gina Prince-Bythewood, failed commercially (it grossed only $14 million)–despite decent reviews.  Perhaps it was the timing of its release, mid-November, and lack of proper marketing by Relativity.

The tale centers on the pressures of fame of Noni, a star in the msuica world–until she meets Kaz Nicol, a young cop and aspiring politician who’s been assigned to her detail.

Drawn to each other, Noni and Kaz fall fast and hard, despite the protests of those around them who urge them to put their career ambitions ahead of their romance.

However, as expected, ultimately, it is Kaz’s love that gives Noni the courage to find her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be.

Running time: 1o2 minutes