If you’ve seen Dreamgirls (2006), you might feel a little déjà vu while watching this movie, I know I did. It’s not a copy though, it’s supposed to be a remake of the 1976 movie with the same name. I don’t really know if I’d call this a musical, but it does have some musical numbers in it where cast members do some singing, mostly on a stage or at church.
I know this story’s sole focus wasn’t supposed to be on Whitney Houston, but I really wish washed been. After all, it is her last movie. However, what she lacks in musical numbers she makes up for in her strong and believable performance as a former R&B star mother of three young women.
While I have not seen the 1976 version, I will say that I think this movie does touch on the ups and downs of the entertainment industry, rather than just focusing on the glitz and glamor side of things. Aside from Houston’s performance, I really liked Omari Hardwick as Levi (I definitely felt for his character) and Tika Sumpter, who plays the middle sister “Dee” or Dolores. I know we’re supposed to be cheering on Jordin Sparks’ character, but Sparkle made some decisions in the movie that I just did not like. In fact, I do think it was kind of her character’s fault that Carmen Ejogo’s character ended up the way she did. Sure, “Sister” wasn’t exactly a saint, but things could have panned out differently had Sparkle been a little more focused on family rather than having a “whatever it takes, I will do it” approach to achieving her dreams. Dolores, on the other hand, was a lot more sensible and I think that’s why I ended up liking her character the most out of the three sisters.
As for my favorite musical number, it is of course when Houston belts out notes in front of a church congregation. I really felt that performance and enjoyed watching her delivery of it.
I actually don’t follow celebrities too in-depth, but from the bits and pieces I know of Houston, I can’t help but feel how fitting this movie kind of is as her last. There are certain scenes that seem to parallel certain moments in her own life, and when she gives advice to her on-screen daughters about the more negative aspects of the entertainment industry, it sometimes felt to me that maybe it wasn’t all just acting.
There are mixed reviews about this movie and I think my own feelings about it are pretty mixed as well. For me personally, I think this is one of those movies you watch to just pass the time. It’s not the kind of movie I’d have the urge to watch again, but if it were to play on TV at some point in the future and I happened to stumble upon it while flipping channels, and if there wasn’t anything else to watch on TV, I could see myself seeing this again.
FINAL VERDICT: C