Rated: PG-13 Drug Material, Domestic Abuse, Some Violence, Language, Mature Thematic Content and Smoking Reviewed by: Nina Release date: August 17, 2012 Released by: Columbia TriStar
Jordin Sparks certainly does Sparkle, the very bright light that you can't take your eyes from, inspiring and uplifting, along with the luminous star that is Whitney Houston in a movie about love and family, dreams and not giving up.
While watching, you'll realize you have an appreciation for the good music, when it wasn't so much about performance but more about the words, the emotions, the sound, the feelings behind the songs and the inspiration and life experiences that fueled them. This movie about following your dreams, which most music group movies are about, did a good job of incorporating all the elements we know and love and told the same story in a slightly different way and took you on a little journey.
Standard music movie format - the girl group just starting out, sneaking out of the house to perform, meet up with potential manager and they are on their way. Their first show is ho hum, they move quickly onto racy performances and costumes, and are on the brink of success then suffer the downfall from the wrong influences, drugs & alcohol. It makes you wonder if that's in the music manager handbook, get one of the singers off by herself, exploit her weakness, thereby destroying the whole setup. There is some brief violence that is unexpected and not really necessary but it jolts you back to the reality that some folks are just bent on destroying what you've got.
This movie is about Ms. Sparks as a singer and performer, looking beautiful and confident, a budding actress and a potential future star. Her talent is evident in her singing her song at the end of the movie makes you stay in your seat through the credits. It's also about Whitney Houston showing herself as we were coming to know our Whitney again, aging beautifully and rising up out of the drama to find herself on top again. She gives just the right nuance to the mother of the film, rigid in her handling of motherhood, a force against her three girls who are moving to break out into the lives they want. She ALMOST steals the show, and we do see a little bit of her real life portrayed in her character. She comes back at the end to understanding, and when she starts to sing, you close your eyes and listen. Her voice is at just the right level and you hear the heart she sang with in her life.
All the actors give good performances, Cee Lo Green as a gritty singer, Mike Epps as the oily character Satin and Carmen Ejogo as Sister, the reluctant spotlight who gets caught up and loses her way. In the end, strength of character and perseverance brings the story to the ultimate end, when the natural and unadorned performance of Sparkle begins, her voice gives true feeling and emotion to truly showcase Jordin Sparks. It is totally worth the price of the ticket AND popcorn and you will leave inspired and maybe a little sad. When you realize that Whitney was singing about being happy, you hope she's where she can feel that everyday. We miss you Whitney.