Beyond the Lights

First Hit:  I was surprised at how much I liked it.

I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this film after reading a brief story about the movie.

However Mini Driver, as Macy Jean, the mother of the biracial Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), was effective as a goal obsessed mother who had to fend for their livelihood. She did this through her daughter's singing talent.

Noni is the dedicated daughter who, under the managing guidance of Macy Jean, has become a worldwide singing sensation. However, she is struggling because she isn’t singing her songs, she’s not in control of her life, and her life doesn’t feel like her own. In desperation she gets drunk, hangs from a balcony and gets saved from a suicide attempt by police officer Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker).

Kaz is also having his career guided by his single parent, Police Captain Nicol (Danny Glover). Captain Nicol wants his son to become a successful politician and therefore has been guiding Kaz's career moves. What was enjoyable was the way the story came together.

Driver was really good as the headstrong mom who both success for her daughter but also success for herself. Along the way, she lost sight of her daughters inner life. Mbatha-Raw was strong as the singer who wants to find her own way. She made a compelling story on the screen. Parker is very good as the officer that wants love but will not live in a way that lacks integrity. Glover is perfect as the dad who wants his son to be great. Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed this film. The story-line was well thought out with some great scenes in the boardroom with Marcy Jean speaking her mind. The direction was good with the scenes in Mexico deftly giving the audience a sense of peace coming over the characters.

Overall:  An enjoyable film that kept its perspective all the way through.