Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Sparkle

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and insults and non-explicit sexual situations, reference to teen pregnancy
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking, cocaine
Violence/Scariness:Scuffle, domestic abuse, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:August 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:November 27, 2012

You can’t help wondering what Whitney Houston was thinking when she decided to co-produce and star in the remake of a flawed but beloved 1976 musical melodrama about a singer who becomes involved with an abusive performer and becomes addicted to drugs.  Was this a cautionary tale?  A reflection on her own choices?  In this movie she plays Emma, the very strict mother of three musical daughters, living in 1968 Detroit.  She is determined that her daughters will adhere only to the three priorities she drills into them: respect, education, and having a relationship with the Lord.

Emma once tried to make it as a singer herself and is determined that her girls will not suffer the heartbreak she experienced.  But her youngest daughter, Sparkle (“American Idol’s” youngest-ever champion Jordin Sparks) wants to writes songs, and she wants to be a star.  She does not have the stage presence of her sultry oldest sister, Tammy, known to everyone as Sister (an electrifying Carmen Ejogo) and is too timid to tell the truth about her feelings in her lyrics.  The third sister, Dolores (Tika Sumpter), just wants to go to medical school.  She agrees to sing Sparkle’s songs so she can get money for school and Sister agrees because she likes the money and excitement.

They sneak out at night to perform so their mother does not know.  Their manager is the poor but ambitious Stix (Derek Luke), whose cousin Levi is in love with Sister.  But Sister wants money and excitement.  She agrees to marry Satin (Mike Epps), a comedian who specializes in the kind of racial humor that makes white audiences feel comfortable.  Emma throws them out.  The trio becomes more and more successful, but Sister’s life with Satin is filled with domestic abuse and cocaine and she resists her sisters’ efforts to help her.

Some intriguing themes about the racial conflicts of the era are raised almost in passing and never developed while the soapy parts of the story drag on and the storyline loses any pretense of believability.  Sparks is not an actress, and Houston spends most of the movie giving that “Hell to the no” look we saw too often in her reality show.  Ejogo is a sensation and Luke continues to be one of Hollywood’s overlooked treasures, bringing a dignity and sweetness to the role.  Epps is excellent, showing us Satin’s volatility and magnetism.  The musical numbers raise the roof, especially the cover of the earlier film’s biggest hit, “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” (later covered by En Vogue) and Sparks’ rousing finale.  But the highlight is Houston’s passionate “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” a powerful spirit-lifter and a sad reminder of her once-to-a-century gifts.

Parents should know that this film includes a scuffle, domestic abuse, characters who are injured and one killed, tense emotional confrontations, sexual references including teen pregnancy and non-explicit situations, some strong language including ugly racial epithets, smoking, drinking, and drug use.

Family discussion:  Why did the three girls have such different ideas about what they wanted?  Why was their mother so strict?  Why did Sister tell the other two they had to leave her house?

If you like this, try: the original Sparkle with Lonette McKee and Irene Cara, “Dreamgirls,” and “Grace of My Heart”

 

 



Previous Posts

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Auction Tomorrow from Bonhams/TCM
Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies have joined together again for another auction of classic Hollywood memorabilia, with treasures from the golden age of movie-making, including the piano Sam plays "As

posted 8:00:36am Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Little Hope Was Arson
In a small East Texas community "with a church on every corner," 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film "Fireproof" one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself

posted 8:40:04pm Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Docudrama about Handel's Messiah on BYUtv November 27, 2014
BYUtv has produced a new docudrama, Handel’s Messiah, premiering November 27, 2014, about the world’s most popular and renowned choral work by one of the leading composers of the Baroque era, George Frideric Handel. The docudrama, narrated by Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning actress Jane Seymo

posted 8:00:38am Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Another #Epicfail for Barbie -- And a Non-Barbie Alternative
Remember when Teen Talk Barbie got in trouble for saying "Math is hard?" Well, Mattel did not get the memo because a new Barbie book intended to encourage girls' interest in STEM subjects like computer

posted 8:00:00am Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Stars Talk About the Film
Fandango has a great interview with the stars of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1." What was the toughest part for Jennifer Lawrence?  Singing! [iframe id='ifplayer' name='ifplayer' frameborder='0' marginwidth='0' marginheight='0' width='620' height='349' scrolling='no' src='http://www.fanda

posted 8:40:25am Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.