Parents' Guide to

Beyond the Lights

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Powerful romantic drama depicts the downside of celebrity.

Movie PG-13 2014 116 minutes
Beyond the Lights Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 18+

Should Be Rated-R

Not for kids under 18. Raised in my house, not for kids under 21 honestly. Don’t get me wrong, great movie. Good plot, good actors and all. Just not a movie for kids. Not sure how it passed with just PG-13.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 14+

Great movie for most teens

This is an amazing and inspiring movie! It says the truth, and fame isn't always what it seems. There is partial nudity, swearing, and brief violence (such as punching), however. It isn't appropriate for children under the age of 14 though.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (3):

As romantic melodramas go, this one is rather substantive. Writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood wowed audiences in 2000 with her critically acclaimed debut, Love and Basketball, and then, eight years later, she earnestly adapted The Secret Life of Bees. Now she's back with another romantic drama about a young woman finding her voice -- except this time it's actually about a singer. It took Prince-Bythewood nearly a decade to get the film made because she wanted to cast Mbatha-Raw long before her star-turning role in Belle. The result is an earnest labor of love that captures the pitfalls of fame, the problems with hyper-sexualizing young performers, and the transformative power of finding someone who really sees you -- not just your persona.

Mbatha-Raw is pitch-perfect playing a rising star who wants not just fame but the possibility of artistic expression. Parker is also wonderful as a swoon-worthy man who's both sensitive and ultra-masculine. Their chemistry is impressively sizzling but also quite sweet as they encourage each other to do what's in their heart, not just what their parents and other advisers expect. The film boasts laudable performances, relevant issues, and a cautionary tale that's worth it for teens and parents to process. If young audiences realize why it meant more to Noni to sing "Blackbird" than a catchy, innuendo-filled tune, the movie has done its job.

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