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Courtney B. Vance
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'Meme' Mary Elizabeth Etheridge Walton
Before I begin reviewing the movie, I just want to say first that if you haven't seen the original or didn't even know that there was an original, you might not enjoy this movie as much as someone who respects it's classic status in black cinema. I actually thought that this movie was going to be terrible. I kept telling my roommate and best friend that I'm not excited and might just watch it on bootleg and if I do go to see it it will only be for the late and legendary Whitney Houston. But thankfully I was invited on a date, so I was relieved that I didn't have to pay for this terrible, terrible film. But to my surprise, I enjoyed it from beginning to end.
As an upcoming writer and film school graduate, there are things about this film that I can truly appreciate more than the average movie goer, like the costumes, the set design, the hair, the locations, and most definitely the script. It was solid. For this to be Mara Brock Akil and her husband's very first feature film together, the script was very well written. It had a lot of memorable one liners and great comebacks. Also, the writer put a few spins on the story that worked very well as an adaption.
Jordin Sparks did very well as Sparkle. I don't think the character was a stretch for her because she's sweet and shy in real life but for this to be her first film she did great. Mike Epps as Satin was a surprise to me. He's usually the smart mouthed side kick in stereotypical black films but his personality played well with his character. Derek Luke was solid and Tika Sumpter was awesome. In the original, Sumpter's character didn't really have much of a story but I appreciated the fact that the writer's gave her a backstory. Whitney Houston did phenomenal as the mother. Her vibrant personality is totally opposite of the film's character who was depressed, unhappy and sort of narrow minded. But the star of the evening was definitely Carmen Ejogo as Sparkle's older and sexy sister, Sister. She stole the show. I had never heard of her until this movie but she was awesome. While the acting wasn't Oscar worthy everybody did a solid job.
The original definitely had its flaws. There were holes in the story and unanswered question but I feel as all movies back in the day were still finding their proper structure. But this adaption definitely left me satisfied. There was more character development, more backstory and since the the movie is about family the bond between all three sisters s what made me love this movie even more. You can tell that they all loved each other and would had each other's backs no matter what.
I'm happy that the original music was in this film along with new ones. The vocals were good but of course Whitney Houston dominated in that department being that she is one of the greatest voices to ever walk this Earth.
Overall, Sparkle was a solid movie. Very enjoyable family film. I have a feeling that a lot of people are gonna love this movie, a lot of people are think it's okay and a lot of people are going to hate it. But these types of movies aren't meant for everyone's enjoyment, only those who understand and appreciate this type of story. I recommend it for all who know the original, all who love good music and all who love Whitney.
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