Just another WordPress.com weblog
Gina Prince-Bythewood has crafted a film that is familiar and yet fresh. The familiar is the boy meets girl story. What puts the story into a new context is honestly addressing race in our new “post racial” society. Beyond the Lights addresses the cult of celebrity, video vixens, white rappers appropriating black culture, the objectification of black women, single mothers, race and love. Whew.
The work Bythewood gets out of her actors is so clean and unfettered. Gubu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker dazzle when needed and simmer in unexpected ways. The film is a drop of water in a desert to this man of color finally seeing another love story featuring brown people onscreen. It is so rare seeing black love presented onscreen, that when it is, (and in this case so artfully) it brings on the waterworks. Bythewood has gone on record regarding how many studios passed on the script, begging her to make at least one of the protagonists white. Black love still isn’t palatable to white audiences in studio head perceptions. The result of Bythewood sticking to her guns to tell this story her way is enthralling! Go see this film!! Get up, and go tonight! I do wonder what some feminists might think of the slight respectability politics theme, mixed as it is with Noni (Mbatha-Raw) coming into a sense of real agency by covering up her physical body when she has finally uncovered her real self. Do clothes make the woman?
However on the whole I heartily cheer on Bythewood. Keep em coming girl!