"Lots of Heart and Show"
What You Need To Know:
DREAMGIRLS is one of the best adaptations of a Broadway musical. The spectacular song and dance routines, the dialogue, and the action build a very well-structured plot. The movie asks the question, what will you do for fame and fortune, and comes up with an extremely moral answer. The only surprising part is that there are practically no references to God, church or faith, in the midst of a community known for just that. That said, the movie's emphasis on moral choices is laudable.
(BBB, Ro, LL, V, S, N, A, DD, M) Very strong moral worldview and premise where loyalty, family and doing the right thing eventually trumps fame and fortune, with people standing up to greedy promoter and giving up their career to help others as well as Romantic elements, but these are refuted at the end; 16 obscenities and two profanities; threats of violence, scenes of Detroit riots, images of a dead body taken out to an ambulance; discussions of sex, sexual promiscuity rebuked, adultery eventually rebuked, sexploitation eventually rebuked, sex outside of marriage rebuked; very low-cut dresses, suggestive photos of woman covering her body by the position of her limbs on magazine covers, upper male nudity, but surprisingly nothing very salacious; alcohol use somewhat rebuked; heavy drug use rebuked when man dies through overdose and fellow performers won’t put up with his drug use; and, payola, bribes, illegal gambling, and other illegal activities rebuked.
DREAMGIRLS is a delightful musical movie full of great song and dance. It is also a strong morality tale affirming the principle that we should not sell our soul for fame and fortune.
The movie opens in Detroit with an amateur night at a theater. The three Dreamettes get there late and do not seem as polished as their competition, but they “wow” the audience. However, Jamie Foxx’s character Curtis Taylor, Jr., a wheeling dealing car salesman, bribes a judge so that they will not win and hires them to be backup for James “Thunder” Early played by Eddie Murphy. Marty Madison, played by Danny Glover, represents Thunder, but Curtis is able to wheedle Thunder away from Madison.
When Thunder can’t adapt to a more mainstream popular style of singing, Curtis gets rid of him and turns the Dreamettes into a crossover pop chart hit group: the Dreams. The best singer in the Dreams is the fat, plain Effie White. Curtis makes the pretty Deena the lead singer, and Effie self-destructs. What Curtis doesn’t know is that Effie is pregnant with his daughter. After some years of withdrawing from the world, Effie goes back with Marty Madison and records an R&B hit. Curtis hears it, and unknown to Deena and Lorrell, Curtis has them record Effie’s song. Thus, Effie’s close friends must decide whether to pursue fame and fortune at all costs or stand by their friend. They have already lost one friend when James “Thunder” Early overdoses, depressed that he has been cast aside.
DREAMGIRLS is one of the best adaptations of a Broadway musical for the big screen. The transition between the dialogue and the music is seamless. The songs, the dialogue and the action all build a very well-structured plot. The movie’s premise asks the question, what will you do for fame and fortune, and the movie comes up with an extremely moral answer.
Newcomer Jennifer Hudson as Effie got a prolonged ovation at the critics screening. Her singing is miraculous and brought tears to the audience’s eyes. Everyone in the cast is good,, but Jennifer is extraordinary. She provides an important heart beat to the movie. Eddie Murphy does some of his best work as James “Thunder” Early. As a villain, Jamie Foxx is excellent, and the audience does not like him at all.
The song and dance routines in DREAMGIRLS are spectacular. They are highlighted by extraordinary cinematography and sound. The only surprising part of this movie is that there are practically no references to God, church or faith, in the midst of a community that was known for just that. That said, the emphasis on moral choices is laudable.
Many critics have said DREAMGIRLS is the best movie for the Christmas season. MOVIEGUIDE® puts NATIVITY STORY at the top and CHARLOTTE’S WEB close to the top, but DREAMGIRLS is an outstanding movie. Watch out, however, for some foul language, drug references and sexual promiscuity, but they are rebuked. This is not a movie for little children since it takes a while for some of the morality tale to take hold. The girls get hooked on the dream before they learn that the dream is not worth selling their souls.