Beyond the Lights plays like a post-rock song... Quiet, loud, quiet, loud. Each emotionally charged scene pulls our heart strings with a skilled subtle dynamic that swells with a satisfying ethereal finale. Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker were the instruments, they played their roles with pitch-perfect vulnerability making Noni and Kaz people you wanted to cheer for, complicated, flawed, but beautiful together. I got teary-eyed when Noni sang the second rendition of "Blackbird." She had me bleeding for her when she stood in the driveway asking Kaz to "see" and love her. Witnessing the transformation of her fragile soul bloom was a quiet explosion in the sky. A brilliant firework. Nate Parker made Kaz suave and sexy; genuine and down-right-decent.
How often do you get to see two people fall in love over sweet potatoes in the car? Not everyone will get the power of that visual. But I ate it up.
I loved the fact that Noni was biracial, and British, and that element, those layers, are something I've wanted to see portrayed on the big screen.
I knew when I finished Beyond The Lights, that I had to see it again, and I did the next day, and then the next day after that. Why? Because Gina Prince-Bythewood directed the type of film that I've always wanted to see. As a movie blogger you wait in eager expectation for the kind of film that makes you fall in love with movies all over again. Beyond the Lights is that film for me. It happens every once in a while, 500 Days of Summer, Blue Valentine, Medicine for Melancholy, Once, Never Let Me Go, I Will Follow (to name a few). And it's a splendid slice of filmmaking when it does.
This movie is special to me, and I can only hope that it becomes special to you. And that, my dear readers, is the beauty of movie magic.