Dreamgirls (2006)

dreamgirls poster 2006 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good cast, smut factor

Story feels like it needs a bit more to push it over the edge

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Dreamgirls

Studio:  DreamWorks SKG

Genre(s):  Musical/Drama

Release Date(s):  December 25, 2006

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

dreamgirls one night only beyonce

Beyonce channeling her Diana Ross!!!

The Dreamettes hope to go places.  Deena Jones (Beyoncé Knowles), Effie White (Jennifer Hudson), and Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose) are making the rounds in Detroit with the help of Effie’s brother C.C. (Keith Robinson) when they meet Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx) who vows he can turn them into musical successes.  Teamed with Jimmy “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy), the Dreams start to find an audience with cross-culture successes.  With Effie bumped from lead to back-up and Deena finding success as the Dreams’ lead singer, the Dreams can’t hold together…but music history might be made in the process!

Directed by Bill Condon, Dreamgirls is a musical based on the 1981 Broadway musical.  The Christmas Day release had strong box-office numbers and critical acclaim.  The film won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress (Hudson) and Best Sound Mixing with nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Murphy), Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and three nominations for Best Original Song (“Listen”, “Love You I Do”, and “Patience”).

dreamgirls jimmy thunder ediie murphy

Get in the Hot Tub!!! Hot! Hot! Full of Water!!! Oh wait this isn’t SNL

Dreamgirls is one of those veiled movies/musicals.  It isn’t a biopic picture but it has a lot of truth to it.  Watching Dreamgirls, you feel like you’re getting juice and dirt on Motown…you aren’t necessarily getting it, but for the smut factor, it is a fun ride.

The story mostly parallels the rise of the Supremes and Diana Ross.  There are a lot of changes to the story and characters don’t quite match up to the real events, but it does feel like the Supremes.  This type of “break-up” story also serves as a parallel for other bands that were destroyed by break-out stars…the movie might be about the Dreams, but it is about all the challenges facing rising bands.

The surprise of Dreamgirls turned out to be the cast.  Beyoncé is surprisingly solid as the Diana Ross anchor, but the real breakouts of Dreamgirls are Jennifer Hudson who wowed people as an actress after rising to fame on American Idol and Eddie Murphy who gave a slump breaking performance as a James Brown-esque performer.  The movie features appearances by Danny Glover, Yvette Nicole Brown, Loretta Devine, John Krasinski, John Krasinski, Jaleel White.

dreamgirls effie white jennifer hudson keith robinson danny glover

Don’t mess with Effie

The movie is a rather traditional musical mixed with an integrated musical (aka with the music happening in the context of the story instead of characters just starting to sing out of the blue).  It is similar to Cabaret, but occasionally this integration is broken by songs being sung by the characters outside of performances…so I wonder if they are really singing them.  The numbers looks good and the film is deftly edited which help.

Despite all the good of Dreamgirls, there is something a bit blasé about it as well.  Watching Dreamgirls, it develops kind of how you expect it to with Effie as the wildcard (the Supremes’ “character” she was loosely based on never mended her differences with the group and was kicked out for different reasons).  It is through Hudson’s character that Dreamgirls keeps from being a completely average film though there is still some room for improvement to make it truly great.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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