A group of female soul singers attempt to make the crossover to the pop charts in the early 1960s and this highlights the struggles they faced both professionally and personally.
If you have read this blog before you will therefore know that love musicals a lot. So as you can imagine I went to the cinema to see this in the previews back when it came out, and have therefore seen it lots of times. I have to admit that I was not its biggest fan when I first saw it, I liked it quite a bit but didnt totally fall for it on the first viewing. However, each time I watch it I like it more and more. Especially watching Jennifer Hudson who totally deserved her Oscar for Best supporting Actress in her first movie role.
The story is about three girls who you see growing up while becoming famous singers. It looks at the cross over to the pop charts and the birth of a record company. How they deal with love, loss and relationships. Deena Jones (Beyonce), Effie White (Jennifer Hudson) and Anika Noni Rose (Lorrell Robinson) are three girls trying to get a break and this comes along when they become backing singers for James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy). They represented by Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx) and songs written by C. C. White (Keith Robinson) who is Effie’s brother. They try to change the type of music and style of songs which are so popular in order to sell more records. Thus setting up their own record company Rainbow records, which they have to involve paying radio’s to play the records. Effie was always the lead singer, she has the most powerful and unique voice out of all the girls and is dating Curtis, as you can imagine when they decide to change things round and have Deena as lead singer, Effie does not like this at all. Which really starts her downfall of leaving the group and Curtis who is having an affair with Deena.
If you are not into musicals I can imagine that this film would be difficult viewing as it has a lot of talk-singing as well as full-out musical turns, which are half performances on a stage and others when the lights are off. Be aware of this if you have not seen the film, and are not into musicals as it might be a bit too much to take. But the main reason people should see this film in my opinion is Jennifer Hudson.
Jennifer Hudson as Effie White has what I like to call the “show stopping” number in “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” it’s not just a song, it’s the acting and emotion she puts into this part of the film. She is begging Curtis not to leave her and kick her out of the group. She does not want to leave and does not want to lose him. If you want to see the exact moment that Jennifer won her Oscar then watch this song. Her voice is incredible and it is so moving knowing how upset she is, and if you have ever had to leave someone or something when you really do not want to you can totally relate to this moment. That she cannot live without him, and “your gonna love me” it really is just totally heartbreaking, especially seeing Curtis reaction and physically trying to stop him from leaving.
I really do think this was the moment which really won her the Oscar, but she was pretty fantastic throughout the film as well. Playing up and arguing because she knows her voice is stronger than Deena’s voice. I do not think you will find a better first film performance than this.
The other performances in this movie are also very strong, or it just would not have worked out that well. I thought the whole cast worked together well and supported each other so much, bouncing off each other to create a very strong film. Beyonce, as Deena Jones had to do more singing than speak actual lines but as we all know Beyonce does have a great voice, which I think she toned it down a bit in this film. Jamie Foxx was brilliant as Curtis Taylor Jr. who shows how money can corrupt people and it can become all they think about and start to put it before their friends and family. I think Eddie Murphy really deserved his Oscar nomination for Actor in a Supporting Role for this film as he showed a different side to his acting and type of performance that he can do.
So many similarities can be made to artists in the Motown era in this film and I am sure it has been widely noted that the Dreams are very similar to the Supremes with Deena being Diana Ross. But not totally the same but based on maybe?
Overall, I really do think this is a musical which was well put together with some fantastic songs and performances. But as I said at the start of this review I was not the biggest fan to begin with and it has taken quite a lot of viewings for me to really like this film. I cannot really explain why that is, but it has really grown on me.