Thursday, November 19, 2009


Dreamgirls; Musical-drama, USA, 2006; D: Bill Condon, S: Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, Anika Noni Rose, Danny Glover

An African-American girl group, "The Dreamettes", consisting out of Effie, Deena and Lorrell, takes part at a talent show in Detroit, but they lose. However, they seize the attention of music producer Curtis who teams them up with the R&B star Jimmy. They quickly rise to fame, but with a price: the married Jimmy has an affair with Lorrell, whereas Curtis decides to place the chubby Effie in the background, so that the more attractive Deena would sing as the main star of the trio. That causes Effie to leave the group and she is replaced. Jimmy dies of a drug overdose. In the end, the three girls reunite again, while Deena leaves Curtis.

An acclaimed film, "Dreamgirls" are a too "rigid" kind of musical, without any kind of concession towards the the other part of the audience who are not that inclined towards that genre. Just in the first hour of the film, there are already around 10 music acts with just 2-3 minutes of break in between to give place for the real drama: it suffers from music overdose, since the actors and actresses display great voices and harmony when singing, but this is not suppose to be a long music spot, but a real film. When in one scene, during which she realizes that she was replaced by another woman in "The Dreamettes" group, Effie suddenly even starts singing during her argument with Curtis, and he starts singing back, it all becomes too much. In every musical, great songs have to be there for the story to work, yet here some of the songs are good, but some are also quite bleak, and it is hard to sit through all of them for 130 minutes. Most performances are also, naturally, based on how well the actors and actresses can sing, and based on that, they can sing really great: Jennifer Hudson has a great voice and plays Effie really well, whereas even the small performance by Eddie Murphy is surprising, since it shows him in unusually serious edition as Jimmy who with time becomes decrepit from drug addictions, but his comic roles were better. It's a solid film, but it's no "Yellow Submarine".


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