Tag: Gina Prince-Blythwood

Beyond The Lights

May 13th, 2017 — 5:13pm


Beyond the Lights – nf

We all know the story of a celebrity going from rags to riches. A child from a poor family blossoms forth with his or her inherent talent and becomes a superstar. Every generation has witnessed this phenomenon. In the days of radio, there was the Amateur Hour. Television brought us America’s Got Talent and many other programs. Some people become worldwide internet and YouTube stars. There are record contracts, world concert tours, etc. Sometimes this trip leads to drugs, overdoses, unhappiness and occasionally even suicide. If that person gets lost in their meteoric rise to the top, can the essence of that person ever reemerge?

This movie shows us a fictional story of a young woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who, thanks to her talent and a ferocious super mom (Minnie Driver) who only sees stardom for her daughter, is quickly achieving fame and fortune. However, this rising star soon finds herself feeling that life is not worthwhile and is about to jump off a hotel balcony while staring into the eyes of young police officer (Nate Parker) who is trying to save her.

The subsequent journey that these two people take is a classical love story, but also a reminder that everyone has to find themselves. We are all not superstars, but there may be a pathway for most people to discover their own passion. It obviously helps and is a nice touch if you fall in love while you are on this journey.

The poignancy and passion of the story is enhanced by the fact that there is some excellent music and singing built into the movie with words and sounds which will stir the emotional undercurrent of this theme. Gina Prince-Bythewood, director and screen writer, deserves kudos for a job well done that will ring a bell in many viewers and touch your heartstrings. (2014)

Comment » | 3 Stars

The Secret Life of Bees

January 16th, 2010 — 2:27am

The Secret Life of Bees* * * * *
The Secret Life of Bees
– nf – One of us read the book and the other didn’t but we both were transfixed by the by this view of the racial tensions in the south in the 1960s. The movie follows the journey 14-year-old Lilly (Dakota Fanning) as she escapes her abusive father and seeks to find out if the mother that she lost at age 4 through tragic circumstances that involved her own hand, had loved her or totally rejected her. She is joined in her quest by her black friend and caregiver Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson). They are drawn to the home of August Boatwright (Queen Latifah) and her two sisters (Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo) which turns our to have a special connection for her. Boatwright is the wise sage of the story who also understands bees and is the maker of honey (the real bee stuff and the sweetness of this character). Despite the recent civil rights act, the hatred and bigotry and its toll are illustrated in this film in very human terms. The best selling novel by Sue Monk Kidd and the screenplay by Gina Prince-Blythwood provided ample opportunity for full expressions of feelings and powerful interactions between the characters under the direction of Ms. Prince-Blythwood. Although there was only a hint of song in the film, Jennifer Hudson and Queen Latifah showed that they are perhaps just as talented as actors as they are singers. Alicia Keys known for her singing also did a great acting job. Sophie Okonedo was outstanding in a difficult role where she had played the disturbed sister who radiated warmth and love but struggled with an incurable emotional pain. Young Dakota Fanning was brilliant as the young girl searching for the truth and the interactions with Paul Bettany who played her father were electrifying. If you haven’t seen this film, it belongs on your Netflix list. (2008)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

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