My 11 year old daughter and I loved “Beyond the Lights,” a movie about a young singer’s rise to fame.
Though I’ve see this story many times– young, talented artist runs into trouble from controlling managers and bad love interests, my daughter was born long after MTV’s “Behind the Music” series. The narrative is brand new to her. She’s also into singing, and she ate this movie up. It stars a woman of color, Noni, played by Gugu Mbatha Raw (who starred in “Belle” earlier this year, another movie I loved and that’s good for kids.) Most of the parts in the movie, with the exception of the singer’s momager, played by Minnie Driver, are characters of color. I was excited for my daughter to see a movie where the major roles are not white people and also the minor roles including crowd scenes and characters like newscasters and politicians. In this movie, it’s normal to see white people in the minority. I was a little uncomfortable with the sexual costumes and dancing at the start, but the clothing and poses are an important part of the narrative. One thing I hate, hate, hate in movies is when the girl gets a makeover, she takes off her glasses, loses weight, and bam! Her life is great, she gets the guy and anything else she ever wanted. Noni does the opposite. She becomes herself, loses her weave and the pasties, gains her real voice, fame, and the guy she loves. Tell me, is ‘Beyond the Lights’ the first rise to fame movie to feature a makeunder? I wish I could post a picture of Noni’s physical transformation but I can’t find one. I highly recommend you take your kids– tweens and up– to see this rare and beautiful movie if you’re OK with some suggestive clothing, dancing, and a couple brief make out scenes.
Reel Girl rates “Beyond the Lights” ***HHH***