[Date Night] “Beyond The Lights” Brings Love Back To The Big Screen

I’m a sucker for a good love story.

Show me two people falling for one another, helping each other grow and evolve, and I’ll show you a woman who is swooning.

Gina Prince-Bythewood, director of both Love & Basketball and Disappearing Acts, knows how to write incredible love stories. So I knew I was going to go see her new film, Beyond the Lights, as soon as I saw a trailer earlier this year.

A lot of folks I know were underwhelmed by the trailer and I get it: In an industry where there are more superheroes, more car chases, more splash, more flash than ever, a good ol’ fashioned love story doesn’t stand out like it should.

But I saw Beyond the Lights at an advanced screening this week and I am a fan. Truly.

The movie has a lot of layers: biracial parenting, father-son legacies, sexualization of female artists in the music industry, mismatched love affairs and more. I left the theater feeling hopeful and a believer in real, powerful all-encompassing love again.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Belle”) plays Noni, a troubled singer on the verge of a major breakthrough. She’s drowning in her hyper sex kitten persona and no one in her inner circle, including her ambitious momager Macy, seems to care long enough to get her the help she needs. When she tries to commit suicide by falling off a balcony, handsome LAPD officer Kaz Nicol (played by Nate Parker, “Red Tails”) is there in time to save her. The two connect and begin to explore what their lives would feel like if they were in this thing together.

This film is very sensual and be advised that if you are not happy about your love life, this flick will have you all in your feelings.

Prince-Bythewood began writing the screenplay six years ago after coming home from an Alicia Keys concert where she was mesmerized by the lyrics to Keys’ “Diary” and inspired to create a love story. But studios didn’t believe a movie about love (with two black leads!) could be successful.

“I’m not going to lie,” she said during a recent Reddit AMA. “There were days when it was tough to pick myself up, but this was a story that I was so passionate about and that fueled my fight. And the knowledge that I just needed one ‘yes.’ I’ve been here before. Everybody turned down Love & Basketball. So once you’ve made it through, you know you can do it again.”

So everyone, I’m urging you to go see it. Take your boo. Or your girlfriends. Or your cousins. Support female directors who consistently produce quality content!

Beyond the Lights is in theaters today. Find a showing near you here