Beyond the Lights

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Beyond the Lights
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Produced by
Written by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography Tami Reiker
Edited by Terilyn A. Shropshire
  • Homegrown Pictures
  • Undisputed Cinema
Distributed by Relativity Media
Release date
  • September 6, 2014 (2014-09-06) (TIFF)
  • November 14, 2014 (2014-11-14)
Running time
116 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million[2]
Box office $14.6 million[2]

Beyond the Lights is a 2014 American romantic drama film directed and written by Gina Prince-Bythewood. The film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Minnie Driver, Nate Parker, Danny Glover, and rapper Machine Gun Kelly. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2014 and was released theatrically in the United States on November 14, 2014.[3] In 2015, the song "Grateful", written by Diane Warren for the film, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.


Noni Jean is a hot new artist who has just won a Billboard Music Award without releasing an album and is primed for super-stardom, but the pressures of success compel her to nearly end her life. She is saved by a young police officer, Kaz Nicol, who has political ambitions. 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. But it is ultimately 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.



On August 15, 2013, Relativity Media bought the worldwide rights to the film; Relativity Media financed and distributed the film. Ryan Kavanaugh produced along with Stephanie Allain.[4] On December 6, 2013, Relativity set the film for a November 14, 2014 release date.[3]


Three stars—Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, and Danny Glover—were already in the ensemble cast on August 15; Raw played Noni Jean, a new singer. Parker played Kaz Nicol and Glover played Captain David Nicol.[4] On September 25, 2013, Minnie Driver and Machine Gun Kelly also joined the cast; Driver played Noni's mother Macy Jean while Machine Gun Kelly played Kid Culprit, a rapper.[5]


Principal photography commenced on August 21, 2013 in Los Angeles.[6]


Relativity Music Group released a soundtrack album for the film on November 10, 2014, which features the original song "Grateful", written by Diane Warren and performed by Rita Ora.[7] Three songs featured in the film but absent from the soundtrack are Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love," India.Arie's "I Am Light" and Amel Larrieux's "Don't Let Me Down" as they already appear on each artist's respective albums.


Beyond the Lights received positive reviews from critics. Based on 75 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a "Certified Fresh" rating of 81%, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's consensus reads "Thanks to smart direction and a powerhouse performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Beyond the Lights transcends its formulaic storyline to deliver thoroughly entertaining drama."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 73 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews" from critics.[9]

The film received positive notices with The Hollywood Reporter praising Mbatha-Raw's performance as "incandescent" and Prince-Bythewood's script for its "surprising integrity."[10] Hitfix said the film's excellence showed that writer/director "Gina Prince-Bythewood isn't working enough,"[11] while Variety called it "messy but undeniably entertaining."[12]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2014 Gotham Awards Best Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw Nominated
Capri, Hollywood Rising Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw Won
2015 NAACP Image Awards[13] Outstanding Motion Picture Nominated
Outstanding Actor Nate Parker Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor Danny Glover Nominated
Outstanding Directoring Gina Prince-Bythewood Nominated
Black Reel Awards[14] Best Film Beyond the Lights Nominated
Best Director Gina Prince-Bythewood Nominated
Best Actor Nate Parker Nominated
Best Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw Nominated
Best Screenplay, Adapted or Original Gina Prince-Bythewood Nominated
Best Original or Adapted Song Diane Warren
Outstanding Original Score Mark Isham Nominated
International Online Film Critics' Poll Best Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw Nominated
Best Original Song The Dream
Academy Awards Best Original Song Diane Warren

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BEYOND THE LIGHTS (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. September 4, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Beyond the Lights (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b McNary, Dave (6 December 2013). "Relativity's 'Blackbird' to Fly on Nov. 14, 2014". Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Relativity Acquires 'Blackbird,' Next Film By Helmer Gina Prince-Bythewood". 15 August 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Sneider, Jeff (25 September 2013). "Minnie Driver, Rapper Machine Gun Kelly Join Relativity's 'Blackbird'". TheWrap. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Feature Film "BlackBird" Casting Call for Featured Extra Role in Los Angeles California". 21 August 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "'Beyond the Lights' Soundtrack Details". October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Beyond the Lights". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Beyond the Lights Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 
  10. ^ Rooney, David. "'Beyond the Lights': Toronto Review". Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ Ellwood, Gregory. "Review: Impressive 'Beyond the Lights' proves Gina Prince-Bythewood isn't working enough". Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Barker, Andrew. "Toronto Film Review: 'Beyond the Lights'". Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Nominees". 
  14. ^ "15th Annual Black Reel Awards Nominate a Spate of Familiar Faces". The Black Reel Awards. 

External links[edit]