‘Dreamgirls’: A star is born

Thu, 12/21/2006 - 2:08pm
By: Emily Baldwin

“Dreamgirls” is one of the most highly anticipated films of the year and it opens nationwide on Christmas Day.

The film, loosely based on The Supremes, is adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name. The film tells the story of the Dreamettes, a ‘60s girl group comprised of three young singers - Effie, the diva (Jennifer Hudson), Deena, the pretty one (Beyonce Knowles) and Lorrell, the quiet one (Anika Noni Rose).

After getting their first big break as backup singers for headliner James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy), the girls are led by car dealer Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx) who takes on the role of manager, in a quest to cross over into the pop charts.

When the girls begin their journey to stardom, things begin to get a bit bumpy as egos flair and creative differences find Effie being bumped out of the spotlight and Deena stepping into it.

Effie becomes a casualty in the fight to the top and the film shows what the highly competitive nature of the music industry can do to people.

The ensemble is nothing if not star studded, and it delivers unlike many all-star films. This is done in part because of the solid basis “Dreamgirls” had in its Broadway predecessor and in part because of director Bill Condon’s absolute mastery over musical adaptations.

Foxx and Knowles may get top billing, but it is Hudson and Murphy who are the true stars of the film.

Murphy delights as Early, an old school rock ‘n’ roll star who never quite crossed over into the mainstream despite his popularity with the African American market. It’s the first time in a long time (maybe even ever) that I’ve really enjoyed a performance by Murphy.

Hudson, who is generating Oscar-buzz with her performance, is a virtual unknown to those who aren’t fans of “American Idol.” On April 21, 2004, Hudson became the sixth of the 12 finalists to be voted off the show in season three.

This is Hudson’s first acting gig and one that many questioned her ability to pull off. With the Academy Award whispers and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress already under her belt, Hudson is proving her acting chops are as sufficient as her diva-worthy vocal pipes.

Her performances throughout the film are mesmerizing and especially mystifying is her performance of “And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.” Whatever you do, do not miss this scene about halfway into the film, it will send chills through your body.

Thankfully “Dreamgirls” lives up to the hype surrounding it, and audiences will leave theaters with a new actress to watch out for in the future.

“Dreamgirls” opens in a theater near you Dec. 25.


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