A composite retrospective on the music of Soul and Motown___ 8/10
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright
Jamie Foxx …. Curtis Taylor Jr.
Beyoncé Knowles …. Deena Jones
Eddie Murphy …. James ‘Thunder’ Early
Danny Glover …. Marty Madison
Anika Noni Rose …. Lorrell Robinson
Jennifer Hudson …. Effie Melody White
Keith Robinson …. ‘C.C.’ White
This is a large, beautiful movie that stays true to its roots. Based on the book and lyrics written by Tom Eyen, the movie is an adaptation of the musical play of the same name that debuted in 1981.
Condon dedicates the movie to the director-choreographer of the play, Michael Bennett, who died in 1987 of AIDS complications. He keeps the spirit of Bennet’s creation intact with a bold, insightful, entertaining gem of a movie with dynamite acting and musical performances.
The story is about three young women, a composite of the Supremes and Aretha Franklin—Beyonce (~Diana), Anika, and the American Idol finalist, Jennifer Hudson (~Aretha)— who as the Dreamettes meet up with a young promoter, Curtis—a Barry Gordy Jr. surrogate played by Jamie Foxx—at a Detroit theater in the early 1960s.
Initially performing backup with James Early (a combo of Jackie Wilson and James Brown, and others, played by Eddie Murphy), Curtis turns the Dreamettes into the Dreamgirls and promotes their considerable talents all the way to the top of the musical world. The sets of Detroit and environs, LA, and other entertainment venues are uncannily realistic. Continue reading