46 user 68 critic

Beyond the Lights (2014)

PG-13 | | Drama, Music, Romance | 14 November 2014 (USA)
2:30 | Trailer

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The pressures of fame have superstar singer Noni on the edge, until she meets Kaz, a young cop who works to help her find the courage to develop her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be.
4,807 ( 200)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Noni
Nate Parker ... Kaz
Minnie Driver ... Macy Jean
Machine Gun Kelly ... Kid Culprit (as Richard Colson Baker)
Danny Glover ... Captain Nicol
Darryl Stephens ... Quentin
Elaine Tan ... April
Isaac Keys ... Jonas
Tyler Christopher ... Liam King
Benito Martinez ... Jesse Soria
Aisha Hinds ... J Stanley
India Jean-Jacques India Jean-Jacques ... Noni (age 10)
Deidrie Henry ... Felicia
Estelle ... Herself
Malieek Straughter ... Billboard Awards Stage Manager


Romance ignites between a troubled young singer on the cusp of stardom, and a handsome young cop with political ambitions in this drama about the power of walking your own path. Noni Jean (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is a talented singer whose ethereal voice has taken the world of music by storm. A glimpse beneath the surface, however, reveals a girl who's cracking under the pressure to top the charts. When Noni tries to end it all, concerned cop Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker) pulls her back from the ledge, and shows her that life is still worth living. Along the way, Noni and Kaz fall head over heels in love. Meanwhile, the powers that be conspire to keep them apart as well as focused on their respective careers. But without Kaz's love, Noni may never find her true voice..

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Open your heart. Find your voice.


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content including suggestive gestures, partial nudity, language and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

14 November 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blackbird See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,500,000, 14 November 2014, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Movie studios initially balked at the idea of a black romance in this film, wanting Kaz to be a white man. But director Gina Prince-Bythewood refused and was ultimately able to convince them to allow her to cast Nate Parker in the role. See more »


Noni cuts herself on the glass and is bleeding yet the next morning she has no injuries. See more »


Kaz: So, what's it like? Being on a stage, all those people feeling you?
Noni: It's a crazy high. Better than any drug.
Noni: So, what's it like for you?
Kaz: What?
Noni: Saving someone's life.
Kaz: Crazy high. Better than any drug.
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »


Written by Chrishan (as Christopher Chrishan Dotson), Kyle Coleman, Anthony Franks and Dominic Woods
Performed by Adrian Marcel
Courtesy of Republic Records
See more »

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User Reviews

under-rated, magnificently flawed, makes an impact
1 March 2015 | by A_Different_DrummerSee all my reviews

Movies about big stars who suffer a crisis of conscience are not exactly rare, but not exactly standard fare either. My fave is PURE COUNTRY with George Strait, and I reviewed it for the IMDb.

What is rare is taking that formula and mixing it into a rom-com. That involves a degree of daring on the part of the producers -- and, no coincidence, there are about a dozen individuals listed as producers in this film. That folks is courage in numbers.

Even the length is daring. The flick runs almost two hours and these days only the largest production companies have the nerve, or the dollars, to go to full length.

But, as I said, nerve is something this film has plenty of.

Does it pay off? If you want me to tell you this is a polished gem, sorry, it is anything but.

But if you are looking for something memorable and entertaining, you have come to the right place.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw -- a name that is hard to forget -- really works the part. Her performance raises this film far above the current IMDb rating. (She is helped by EXTRAORDINRY H&M,ie, hair & makeup, which in turn makes the transition from regular person to Rap Star all that much more startling).

Minnie Driver, usually a standout, is lost here. In fact, pretty much everyone plays second fiddle to Gugu Mbatha-Raw, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, that is precisely why I recommend the film.

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