The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.
A successful asset manager, who has just received a huge promotion, is blissfully happy in his career and in his marriage. But when a temp worker starts stalking him, all the things he's worked so hard for are placed in jeopardy.
Detroit, the early 1960s. Curtis Taylor, Jr., a car salesman, breaks into the music business with big dreams. He signs a trio of young women, the Dreamettes, gets them a job backing an R&B performer, James "Thunder" Early, establishes his own record label and starts wheeling and dealing. When Early flames out, Curtis makes the Dreamettes into headliners as the Dreams, but not before demoting their hefty big-voiced lead singer, Effie White, and putting the softer-voiced looker, Deena Jones, in front. Soon after, he fires Effie, sends her into a life of proud poverty, and takes Deena and the Dreams to the top. How long can Curtis stay there, and will Effie ever get her due? Written by
Fast-Paced Film, Incredible Score, Truthful Performances, Sumptuos Physical Design-What More Do You Want?
I went to a trade screening of "Dreamgirls" a few days ago and from the first seconds of the film, you can tell that you're in for the time of your life. To put it shortly, Bill Condon (director-writer) delivers the goods with this film. It's most definitely the first of its kind. It moves at a rapturous pace that leaves you breathless and delivers performances that are both subtle and fittingly over the top.
The movie explains plot holes from the Broadway musical and adds many historical occurrences (Martin Luther King Jr., etc.) that gives the film a much more social awareness. Most of the sung dialogue from the musical is replaced with spoken with the exception of a few scenes. The music itself has always been wonderful, and this able cast performs it spectacularly.
The performances are something else. Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murhpy, and Anika Noni Rose will blow you away. Murphy's vocals, though not as strong as his leading ladies, suit his character perfectly and shows a vulnerable side to him towards the end that we never knew he had. Rose makes the transition from a giggly little girl into a full-blossomed woman seamlessly, and Hudson-well, let's just say that any major hype you've heard about her does not do her performance justice. Beyonce Knowles will catch you off guard with her beautifully subtle performance, brilliantly channeling Diana Ross with her musical performances. Jaime Foxx, Keith Robinson, Danny Glover, and Sharon Leal also hand in admirable performances.
I could not recommend this film more. It gives hope AGAIN to the movie musical that "Chicago" revived and "The Phantom of the Opera", "Rent", and "The Producers" almost killed. I can't say whether this film will be the next "Chicago" (I do foresee MANY Oscar noms, including Best Pic and others), I certainly hope it will be. I dream it will be bigger. It is definitely not the next "The Producers". I can say this though: It is the first, and only, "Dreamgirls" that we will ever encounter.
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