“Sparkle” Movie Review
Kidzworld reviews Sparkle which was Whitney Houston’s last film starring Jordin Sparks
By: Lynn Barker
In the 1960’s it was all about Motown girl groups. Shy singer/songwriter Sparkle and her sisters form a trio for very different reasons.
Following the Dream
It’s 1968 in Detroit and groups like The Supremes rule the airwaves. Shy Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) writes some hot music but hides behind her more outgoing older sisters. She sings backup with Sister (Carmen Ejogo) and Dolores (Tika Sumpter) but never feels like a star until cute agent Stix (Derek Luke) takes a shine to her and her songwriting and reps the group.
Trouble on the Homefront
The girls’ mom Emma (Whitney Houston) is very religious and also doesn’t want her girls to relive her mistakes. She was a singer and never made the bigtime. She doesn’t support Sparkle’s dream and worries that Sister is making a bad choice in men when she hooks up with showy and controlling music producer Satin (Mike Epps) instead of nice guy Levi (Omari Hardwick). Dolores just wants to make enough money to go to medical school and leave singing behind.
Carmen, Jordin and Tika on the cover of Ebony
Fame and Heartache
The girls are just on the edge of hitting it really big with concerts and a record contract but Sister’s marriage to Satin is falling apart when he starts to control and hit her. Dolores and Sparkle move out of Mom’s house without her blessing. The domestic violence in Sister’s house escalates until an incident lands her in prison. Stix tries to get Sparkle to go to California with him. She at first refuses but, eventually, has to leave mom Emma alone and go follow her solo dream with or without Stix.
On Her Own
Sparkle has to have the courage to sell herself as a solo singer/songwriter and it isn’t easy but she is determined. Stix and Sparkle reunite and he encourages her to do a solo concert even when Mom probably won’t show up. Finally, after talking to Sister in jail, Mom comes around. Will Sparkle wow them at her show? Will her dream live?
My impression of the ‘60’s from this movie is great clothes and great music! The costumes the girls wear on stage really kick it and you can’t hardly beat that Motown sound. Jordin Sparks, in her first movie role, has to carry the lead part and I give her props for that. She isn’t going to win an Oscar but she holds her own with more experienced actors including legendary Whitney Houston, who does a heartbreaking but really good job as the loving but mostly unsupportive mom turned bitter by her own lack of success.
Beautiful and talented Carmen Ejogo has some great heavy scenes as Sister and really pulls them off, kinda stealing the movie from Jordin. Tika Sumpter fleshes out the in-your-face role of middle sis Dolores really nicely. The male cast also shines. Mike Epps, usually a funny guy, is really riveting as the pompous and controlling snake-in-the-grass character Satin. There is a Tyler Perry movie flavor to the film (with the spirituality and family situations) but this movie is its own animal.
I never saw the original 1970’s film starring Irene Cara as Sparkle so I can’t compare the two but the overall story this time is both melodramatic and soap-opera predictable (i.e. Once she’s in the music biz, Sister gets involved with drugs and the wrong guy, etc. We’ve certainly seen that before). However, you will be entertained. If you like Jordin, or the girl group Motown sound, Whitney Houston, ‘60’s style etc. you are going to want to see this movie. Corny or not, for overall performances and entertainment we’ll go 4 stars.
Sparkle Movie Trailer