Beyond the Lights is the story of Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a remarkable award-winning singer and her Svengali mother (Minnie Driver) who controls every move that Noni makes. Noni attempts suicide and is rescued by police officer/aspiring politician Kaz (Nate Parker), who also has his path being dictated by his father (Danny Glover). They get together and he doesn't care about the fame, he loves her for who she is and he loves him for who he is, cue music. And that's it - you can just as easily watch any other generic romantic film, and you'd get the same storyline. This one is by the same filmmakers as Love and Basketball, so if you want romantic film with love story complications that the characters eventually overcome, you simply have to choose if you would prefer the harsh realities of the sports world or the harsh realities of the music business, and then watch the same movie with different settings and costumes. I do love me some Minnie Driver, so ok, pick this one.
The song that is nominated, Grateful, is a nice song, but it's basically another pop song. I happen to love the songwriter, Diane Warren, who has been nominated for Oscars for Best Song for decades (Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Mannequin; I Don't Want to Miss A Thing, Armageddon). Unfortunately for this song, it could just as easily be a Beyonce song or a Rhianna song - there is nothing distinctive about it that makes it a prime nominee for an Oscar... much like the movie.
So, I'm putting this squarely in the Oscar nomination miss category. And, I'd wait for Netflix to see the film. Hear the nominated song here: