Beyond the Lights (2014)
First screened in November 2014
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood. Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, Danny Glover, India Jean-Jacques, Richard Colson Baker, Jordan Belfi, Greg Davis Jr., Tyler Christopher, Aml Ameen, Darryl Stephens, Elaine Tan, Wren T. Brown, Tom Wright, Don Lemon, Gayle King, Estelle, Chaka Khan. Screenplay: Gina Prince-Bythewood. Twitter Capsule:
50s-style emotional voluptuousness but specific to time, place, people. Rich undercoat of sadness. Actors great.
NO. Don't let #BeyondTheLights go down like this at the box office. It is entertaining, emotionally ripe, smartly edited, wonderfully acted.
Undisguised pulp, with juicy if shaky dramatic contrivances. But rarely do modern movies take this big a risk on melodrama. Counter-intuitively downcast tone speaks to smart direction.