on 17 April 2007
You either love it, or hate it!
I loved it, I think Hudson is amazing and Beyoncé and Anika both put in strong performances.
the only fault I have is that Beyoncés voice is too strong for us to believe she shouldn't be lead!
on 6 June 2011
''Dreamgirls'' has everything you could want in a modern musical film, a good storyline, glamourous costumes and settings, and most importantly catchy songs sung by superstar voices.
Set in the 1960's and 70's, it is the story of singing trio 'The Dreamettes' (loosely based on The Supremes) made up of flirtacious Lorelle (Anika Noni Rose), fiesty powerhouse Effie (Oscar winning Jennifer Hudson) and willing-to-please good girl Deena (Beyonce Knowles). They are spotted by record boss/car salesman Curtis (loosely based on Motown creator Berry Gordy Jr) and with his help are turned into superstars 'The Dreams' with extra pressure put on Deena to carry the group's fame. Other cast members include Eddie Murphy as a has-been soulman in the style of Jackie Wilson/James Brown (Murphy proves he can still act others off the screen and shows off some impressive vocals in his songs), and Jamie Foxx as charming but shady Curtis.
The entire look of the film is very glossy and is filmed beautifully, and plays like one long MTV music video (this is a positive). A stand out of the film is a music montage where Beyonce' models the styles of the 1970s fashion, especially re-creating classic Diana Ross poses.
The soundtrack is the heart of the film though. A few songs from the stage-production are omitted, but the majority is intact, including the showstopper 'I'm Telling You I'm Not Going' sung with pain and guts by Jennifer Hudson, 'Dreamgirls' the perfect pop-ballad by the trio, and a new but welcome addition 'Listen' as Beyonce's solo, giving her a chance to really shine and show off her voice.
The negatives; The only complaint is that songs that would have worked well onstage fail in the film - for example 'We are a Family' features a silly spoken word exchange by the characters, and does distract from the overall realism in the rest of the film.
This is easily looked past though, and 'Dreamgirls' is still a fantastic musical film with a lot of heart that is worth a purchase.
on 11 July 2007
Yes this is without a doubt Jennifer Hudson's film! she absolutely shines! and definitely outdoes Beyonce in Acting and singing performance, not to say that Beyonce is not truly one of the best female solo artists out there at the moment....what shocked me was that she was willing to take a back seat and allow a regular person to out do her like that! not very diva-like is it? it made me like her all the more as you sometimes get the impression that the likes of beyonce and J-lo are just too much attitude and egotistical, but moves like this prove otherwise. I actually didn't know who Jennifer Hudson was when i watched this movie having not seen American Idol, and at first was a little disappointed that Beyonce was not the lead role, and as a result of this i immediately dis-liked the character of Effie White thinking that she was whining and moaning all the time, however the second time around, after finding out who she was i was amazed at her performance! in her shoes i would be star-struck and here she is giving an amazing and very head-strong performance alongside the likes of Jamie Foxx, Beyonce and Eddie Murphy! the second time around after reading up on the story and watching the movie properly, (i admit i kinda skipped through it the first time) i actually felt quite emotional at Hudson's performance and felt nothing but sympathy toward her, and nothing but hate for Beyonce's character, after all, she took her man, took her place vocally in the group, and then later took her song! (although not intentional, i really felt sorry for White) the performances here were brilliant and i really felt something for all the characters, be it love or hate, and the song's were not corny or cheesy, not being a fan of musicals i found that the song's worked well and displayed as much emotion and movement as general acting would, you kinda forgot they were singing! like watching a sub-titled film and after a while you forget that the subs are there. (if you get what i mean)
oh and sorry to drag this out but Eddie Murphy cannot go unmentioned, this was one of his best performance's in my opinion and made a refreshing change from the comical and often silly roles he has played for the last few years, although a very funny man, (see raw-excellent!) he proved that he can act serious and give an Oscar performance in a grounded role as he has done here, i found myself almost in tears as he acted out the lows in Jimmy's life, his performance was truly touching and very tearful at and toward the end. i tried to find out if this Character was "real" but couldn't find out much, i hope he wasn't and the sad events that happened for it was so sad as was the case of Effie White.
it's a shame that Murphy apparently only played this role as a favor to the director and has no intention of going "serious" as i would like to see more of his great acting skills at a serious role.
lastly, just a comment on the pacing of the film which i thought was just perfect, not too fast, not too slow, the film moves steadily through past, present and future without ever causing disruption to the flow of the movie and by the end you feel as though you have travelled with these people personally through their entire lives, you should be deeply moved by this, and if not you will enjoy the song's and performances none the less.
on 11 January 2015
Dreamgirls is based on The Supremes chart topping rise to success in the 60s- though this is never mentioned. Three ladies start out from humble beginnings and make it to the big time- aided by their iron fist manager Jamie Foxx. Jennifer Hudson's first movie performance is outstanding, her energy voice and emotion are unequalled. Beyonce looks beautiful and has a voice to match. Eddie Murphy plays a successful musician on the brink- has Murphy ever played such a serious role? Clearly his finest movie in a generation.
Dreamgirls is a musicial, yet it takes half the film to get into serious musical thread (singing while in coversation). The first of these songs about being a family is wholly contrived and is indeed laughable. But it gets much better. Hudson performs one of the greats musical numbers in movie history in her scene with Foxx. Indeed the movie reaches 'magic' status in the scene just before when Hudson thinks she is still in the group.
Great direction and fine performances. Though perhaps we could have had more emotion- not from a singing side but from an acting one. Foxx's character talks the talk but he ends up being some friendly giant by the end which doesn't mix so well. But the odd grumple aside, Dreamgirls is a hoot- it reaches those points where you are absolultly dazzled- in short an entertaining story and a fine musicial.
on 2 December 2008
A thoroughly enjoyable musical, though not without faults. Aside from Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Curtis (Jamie Foxx) the characters were badly under-developed, which made the storyline seem jerky. The direction kept switching between musical styles: sometimes it was played as a traditional musical with characters bursting into song mid-sentence, at other times dialogue was spoken with musical numbers kept on stage or in a recording studio.
I'm not sure if some scenes were cut to make way for all the musical numbers (there are a LOT of songs, even for a musical) but some great acting toward the end of the film was too little too late for those characters. For instance Deena (Beyonce Knowles) is a pretty face who doesn't say much at all until the last 10 minutes of the film, despite being in a role that could be construed as the lead character.
There was also a missed opportunity to make more of the race element of the story: a central tenet is that black soul music was dumbed down/prettified to make it appeal to white consumers. There is even a scene set during the Detroit riots and at another point brief mention is made of Martin Luther King Jr, but the references are lost to a tangle of love stories. The singing is the one thing I cannot fault: top notch from everyone involved.
on 24 January 2008
Forget Beyonce, Jamie and Eddie, the person who stole the show was Jennifer Hudson (Effie White) who for me was the best. All in all, the songs were catchy and original and the choreography was really good - but I was slightly dissappointed in this film, the storyline was something that I had seen already, I really didn't want to be watching the life story of Berry Gordy - well that's how it seemed to me.
If you want to see life in Detriot in the 60's, then see this film.
on 29 August 2007
THIS IS FANTASTIC!!Entertainment with a capital E.I don't agree with the slating this movie has had.As the blurb says -Sassy,Stylish and Sexy-what more do you want?Jennfer Hudson -What a voice!!I really enjoyed this musical joy and if you don't have this in your collection your missing a rare treat.The film now sits in proud position of my collection alongside Lady Sings The Blues,Fame and Chicago.Buy this NOW!
on 6 April 2007
This definitely is the vehicle for Jennifer Hudson's success. She exudes the emotional depth and subtleties of the well-written character Effie White. I could not help admire how the numbers were cleverly arranged with no dialogue needed. The singing itself and the shots spoke for all, as "Family" demonstrated when all tried to persuade Effie to cede singing lead. Jennifer Hudson's powerful, rich, brassy voice is unforgettable - a desperate voice to be heard. Whether she was protesting being replaced by Sharon Leal in the trio, they sang "It's all over" and she sang "And I'm telling you I'm not going" or fighting for a living in "I'm changing", her performances were marvelous. When the Dreamgirls bade farewell in the end, she was exuberant and sang her heart out to her little darling. It is simply a delight to watch the ups and downs (or rather the downs and ups) of Jennifer Hudson.
Other characters are also very watchable and their voices very creditable - Jamie Fox, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Keith Robinson (as C.C. White), Anika Noni Rose, Sharon Leal, Queen Lativah. Needless to say, Beyonce Knowles paled in comparison because of her difficult role. Maybe she was too beautiful, maybe her character, Deena Jones, was too perfect and thus appeared unreal and weak when compared with the struggles of those around her. Jennifer Hudson's role as Effie White, by contrast, was all flesh and blood. This could easily have been a movie more on Effie White and less on Deena Jones. The movie could have been more like All about Eve, placing equal emphasis on Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. Jennifer Hudson fully deserves an Oscar - not just for a Supporting Role but for a Leading Role.
on 19 March 2007
Movies and Music: a natural combination. Yet it is possible to count on one hand the so-called classic, successful musicals and even these are wide open to discussion. The musical most often mentioned as the "best" as in the most cogent blending of music, comedy and performance is "Singing in the Rain" already some 50 years old. "An American in Paris, "42nd Street," "Funny Girl" (whose success owes more to Barbra Streisand then to the film surrounding it) are also mentioned as the "best."
On the stage, being a more synthetic art form than the more naturalistic movies, bursting into song somehow seems more appropriate though even in the theater it's a stretch. Whether we accept it in movies or the theater has to do with whether we are willing to suspend our disbelief: are we being romanced and convinced by what we see and hear though what we hear and see might be pure fantasy? And though it is fantasy do we really care?
So now we have Bill Condon's (screenwriter of "Chicago" and director of the sublime "Gods and Monsters" and "Kinsey") "Dreamgirls" and the dynamic, electric performance of Jennifer Hudson as Effie: one of the Dreams a girl singing group that also includes Deena (a subdued yet magnificently-voiced Beyonce' Knowles) and child-like Lorrell (Noni Rose).
In a nutshell, "Dreamgirls" is best when it is singing: Effie's 10 minute "And I'm Telling You I'm not going": a tour-de-force full of rage, passion and heartbreaking candor, Deena's "Listen" which Beyonce' delivers with conviction and dignity in her trademark velvet tones.
Director Condon is after more here than a fluid blending of movie and music which he definitely delivers. But he also shows us the inevitable dumbing down of formidable talent as a prerequisite to making it in Pop Music: i.e. the decline and decimation of Eddie Murphy's James Brown/Sam Cooke-like Jimmy and of course of the Dreams themselves: both of whom have their roots firmly entrenched in the gospel tradition who are convinced/forced into changing their styles by the svengali-like Curtis Taylor of Jamie Foxx so as to take advantage of the more lucrative anglo pop market. Taylor is right of course and the Dreams become superstars while Jimmy's career takes a nose-dive.
One of the best things about "Dreamgirls" is the fluid manner in which Condon directs this film: scenes flow seamlessly and naturally from one to another giving you the feeling of a stage performance as hydraulics change scenery effortlessly and quietly.
Some of the scenes between the musical numbers are lifeless but others are not. Where "Dreamgirls" shines though is in the mostly breathtaking musical numbers: Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce', Eddie Murphy ( a brilliant performance in which he displays a heretofore untapped vein of desperation he has never exhibited before) and of course, the songs and lyrics of Harry Krieger and Tom Eyen.
This film is not perfect but when it is good it definitely packs a whallop. "Dreamgirls" is many things but ultimately it is a serious musical film made with exquisite taste, an extraordinary sense of character and motivation and a reverence for the source material. Approach it with care and compassion and prepare to be moved.
on 29 March 2013
I have watched Dreamgirls many, many times and I LOVE it, but I would advise those who aren't really fans of musicals to steer clear. There is a LOT of singing, so much so that the first time I watched it I began to get a bit sick of it. Leaving the room to go to the toilet and coming back to see the same character singing is sometimes a bit much for anyone.
But other than that, the acting is great (particularly Eddie Murphy) and Jennifer Hudson's voice - as many have said before me - just takes your breath away. The film manages to deal with issues of race, body image, drugs, affairs, relationships, oh and of course the music industry, all set against the back-drop of America in the '60s. Well worth the watch.