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Sparkle is a timeless story of the bonds of family, the trials of success and the power of music. In her feature film debut, “American Idol” sensation Jordin Sparks stars as Sparkle, a young woman whose big dreams seem almost impossible. She’s been warned against the pitfalls of the music industry by her protective mother (Whitney Houston), yet encouraged by the handsome and ambitious Stix (Derek Luke), Sparkle forms a trio with her sisters (Tika Sumpter and Carmen Ejogo). Together, they perform the soul-stirring songs that Sparkle pens. But as their fame grows, so does the risk of jealousy, self-doubt and insidious temptation. This sweeping drama is brought to life with a powerful cast including Mike Epps, Omari Hardwick and CeeLo Green.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 89
- Fresh: 50
- Rotten: 39
- Average Rating: 5.7/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: If the film is a sudsy show-business Cinderella story in which Emma's youngest daughter, Sparkle (Jordin Sparks), ascends to glory, Houston's presence makes it a cautionary tale.
Fresh: Houston's performance proves that this could have been the first step not merely in a comeback but in a major re-invention. She had the instincts of a superb character actress.
Rotten: Whitney Houston deserved better than to go out onscreen with this botch job remake of a 1976 soap opera that never deserved another thought.
Rotten: Noteworthy only for featuring Whitney Houston's last screen appearance.
IT ISN'T PERFECT, BUT "SPARKLE" STILL MANAGES TO SHINE
As a melodrama, "Sparkle" is instinctively predictable and old-fashioned by nature. But with an energetic cast and some heartfelt musical numbers, it's able to rise above most of its formulaic trappings to stand alone as a solidly entertaining Motown musical. The story itself is familiar enough. Set in Detroit in 1968, the film follows Sparkle (Jordin Sparks), a musical prodigy determined to make it big in the music industry by forming a girl group with her two sisters (Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter), despite the disapproval of their devoutly religious mother (Whitney Houston). Unfortunately, the group's sudden rise to stardom becomes a challenge when their personal lives begin to fall apart. With her family unravelling at the seams, can Sparkle avoid the pitfalls of fame to make her dreams come true? The plot is one we've seen many times before, but the way it's presented is rather endearing. It steadily moves along at a pace that doesn't feel hackneyed or rushed, and as a result, we get a better feel for the characters, although most of them end up being left severely underdeveloped (especially Cee Lo Green, who only appears at the beginning of the movie). Sparks gives a decent performance as the titular character. Her acting is never bad, but it isn't exactly memorable. Thankfully, her phenomenal singing manages to overcome any flaws. In an impressive breakout role, Ejogo stands out as Sparkle's sister, Sister, whose abusive relationship with boyfriend Satin (Mike Epps) progressively spirals out of control. Her emotionally charged performance is one of the brightest spots in the film, for sure, but not quite as poignant as Whitney Houston's final movie role. It's hard not to get emotional watching Houston gracefully sing "His Eye Is On the Sparrow", and despite her minimal screen time, she fully commits to her character in every one of her scenes. The result is simply chilling. Yes, there's no denying the fact that Houston steals the film with her presence alone, but it also benefits from Salim Akil's empathetic direction and the strong performances of its talented cast. If you can get past the familiar story and uneven character development, "Sparkle" makes for an enjoyable musical drama full of superb tunes and sincere performances. If you're a big fan of classic Motown music or Whitney Houston (or both), this is definitely the film for you.
Just saying that this movie can never replace the old one but in my book it was beautifully captivating and awesome!!!!! I loved watching every minute of it! I watched the 1976 and that one was a classic. And so is this one. Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke, and Whitney Houston were all great actors and actresses in this movie. And it has the greatest soundtrack EVER. RIP Miss you every day, Whitney!
Worst acting in history