Here’s Why You Need to Watch ‘Beyond the Lights’ on Netflix TONIGHT
TONIGHT, July 25, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. EST / 4:30 PST, Beyond the Lights writer and director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees) will be hosting a Beyond the Lights live-tweet as we all watch together on Netflix (or just buy it here). Here’s why you should join in:
Without question, Beyond the Lights was the most underrated movie of 2014. This beautiful love story about a Rihanna-esque pop star on the verge of suicide has it all: heart-melting romance, suspense, drama, action, superb acting, a solid storyline, bountiful tear-jerking moments and the sweet satisfaction of watching two people fall completely in love. So why didn’t we make it #1 at the box office last year??
I’m kicking myself for being so ridiculously late to this party, having just seen the film this month at the suggestion of my cousin. I’d been watching the new Nina Simone documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? when my cousin’s text came through that Beyond the Lights on Netflix was a must-see. After watching the legendary Simone, what a joy to watch another film about–at least, in part–the impact of Simone on Beyond the Lights’ main character, the young singer, Noni Jean (played impeccably by the gorgeous Gugu Mbatha-Raw).
Besides getting to feel in your bones one of Simone’s most gut-wrenching but less-famous tunes, “Blackbird,” the film features one song that sounds to me like the voice of God, for real: “Fly Before You Fall,” by Cynthia Erivo. You’ll be wanting to buy the soundtrack when the live-tweet is over because it’s chock-full of catchy songs written by The Dream that I can’t for the life of me get out of my head–and I don’t want to!
I will not even confess how many times I’ve seen this movie in the past month, how many friends and family members I’ve made watch it with me, or how many times I’ve played “Fly Before You Fall,” just to make it through the night. It may be a year old, and it would’ve been great if I had found it sooner, but in this past month, I needed it in a way that perhaps I didn’t need it when it came last year.
Even in fiction–or maybe especially so–I needed to see a young Black woman learning to deal with mental illness and attempted suicide out in the open. I needed to see a young Black woman finding and defining her own freedom. I needed to see a young and gloriously Black couple connecting on a soul-level and then falling in love. And I needed to see Nate Parker without his dag-on shirt (kidding! But that’s a bonus).
Gugu’s criminally underappreciated performance (and singing!) will gut you and mend you all at once. Gina’s vision and story will have you rooting for love, and the songs will have all you fellow Blackbirds ready to fly.
So watch with us tonight, tweet me @BrookeObie, use #DamnNoni to keep up with the live tweet and thank me later!