Open main menu

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.

Beyond the Lights
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGina Prince-Bythewood
Produced by
Written byGina Prince-Bythewood
Music byMark Isham
CinematographyTami Reiker
Edited byTerilyn A. Shropshire
  • Homegrown Pictures
  • Undisputed Cinema
Distributed byRelativity Media
Release date
  • September 6, 2014 (2014-09-06) (TIFF)
  • November 14, 2014 (2014-11-14)
Running time
116 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$7 million[2]
Box office$14.6 million[2]


Noni Jean is a hot new artist who has just won a Billboard Music Award without releasing an album and is primed for superstardom, 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.


Critical responseEdit

Beyond the Lights received positive reviews from critics. Based on 87 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a "Certified Fresh" rating of 83%, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The website's critical 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 reviews, 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 nominationsEdit

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][failed verification] 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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ "BEYOND THE LIGHTS (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. September 4, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Beyond the Lights". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  3. ^ a b McNary, Dave (December 6, 2013). "Relativity's 'Blackbird' to Fly on Nov. 14, 2014". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e Fleming, Mike Jr. (August 15, 2013). "Relativity Acquires 'Blackbird,' Next Film By Helmer Gina Prince-Bythewood". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Sneider, Jeff (September 25, 2013). "Minnie Driver, Rapper Machine Gun Kelly Join Relativity's 'Blackbird'". TheWrap. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
  6. ^ "Feature Film "BlackBird" Casting Call for Featured Extra Role in Los Angeles California". Project Casting. August 21, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  7. ^ filmmusicreporter (October 27, 2014). "'Beyond the Lights' Soundtrack Details". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  8. ^ "Beyond the Lights (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "Beyond the Lights Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  10. ^ Rooney, David (September 11, 2014). "'Beyond the Lights': Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  11. ^ Ellwood, Gregory (September 8, 2014). "Review: Impressive 'Beyond the Lights' proves Gina Prince-Bythewood isn't working enough". Hitfix. Uproxx. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  12. ^ Barker, Andrew (September 8, 2014). "Toronto Film Review: 'Beyond the Lights'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  13. ^ "Nominees". NAACP Image Awards. NAACP. Archived from the original on March 19, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  14. ^ Black Reel Awards (December 17, 2014). "15th Annual Black Reel Awards Nominate a Spate of Familiar Faces". Black Reel Awards. Retrieved August 22, 2018.

External linksEdit