Release Date: December 15th, 2006 (limited)
December 25th, 2006 (wider)
January 19th (wide) by Paramount Pictures.
The Cast: Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson, Sharon Leal, Hinton Battle, Mariah Wilson, Ken Page, Ralph Harris.
Directed by Bill Condon.
BASIC PREMISE: Deena (Knowles), Lorrell (Rose) and Effie (Hudson), rise to the top of the 60’s pop charts as The Dreams. Based on the 1981 Broadway show.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The thoroughly engaging and absorbing plot of Dreamgirls, loosely based on the rise of the Supremes, follows the trio of female singers, Deena, Lorrell and Effie, as they start off as the Dreamettes, back-up singers for James “Thunder” Early (Murphy), and eventually rise to fame as The Dreams. Meanwhile, Effie struggles to outshine Deena, who often leads the trio’s performances. Writer/director Bill Condon knows how to transition between musical numbers and dramatic scenes without causing any confusion or contrivance. Every single scene feels alive with so much energy that it’s impossible to feel bored. Condon also includes a few well-needed moments of comic relief. The acting and musical performances are amazing all across the board—and yes, Eddie Murphy can sing impressively. But the real pleasure here is watching Jennifer Hudson. Whether she sings or acts, she brings plenty of charisma and conviction to the role of Effie so that you truly care about her. From start to finish, Dreamgirls feels immensely entertaining and hooks you in with flashy cinematography, well-choreographed dancing and beautiful songs which received many claps, just like at a Broadway show. Fortunately, it never overstays its welcome despite its running time of 2 hours and 11 minutes.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: A few songs feel particularly moving thanks to very emotional, soulful singing, especially when Jennifer Hudson sings “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” while breaking out in tears—you can really feel her pain. The themes of racism and the unfairness, greed and deception of Hollywood are briefly explored.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Exhilarating, immensely entertaining and moving. It’ll surely make a star out of Jennifer Hudson.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "D" Menu