Redemption tells the story of Stan "Tookie" Williams, founder of the Crips L.A. street gang. Story follows his fall into gang-banging, his prison term, and his work writing children's ... See full summary »
Lee Thompson Young
A talented young woman is torn between her dreams and her family in this musical. Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) has been blessed with a beautiful voice and a gift for songwriting, but she's afraid to perform her songs in public, in part because her mother Emma (Whitney Houston), a former entertainer whose career brought her nothing but heartache, refuses to allow her daughters to sing outside of church. But Sparkle persuades her older sibling Sister (Carmen Ejogo) to sing one of her tunes at a talent show, and the reaction proves that Sister has star quality and Sparkle can write potential hits. An ambitious would-be manager, Stix (Derek Luke), persuades Sparkle and Sister to form a singing group with their sibling Dolores (Tika Sumpter), but while the act clicks wit audiences, the sisters have to contend with their angry mother, Sister gets caught up in a destructive relationship with a short-tempered comedian (Mike Epps), and Sparkle finds herself falling in love with Stix.
Whitney Houston was also one of five executive producers on the movie, having acquired remake rights around the year 2000. Her original plan was to have singer Aaliyah star as Sparkle, until the singer died in a plane crash in August 2001. See more »
The venue mentioned as The Fillmore was actually named the State Theater at the time the film takes place. It didn't change to it's current name The Fillmore until 2007. See more »
An artistic homage to the original with it's own unique voice and fitting swan song for Ms. Houston
Set in 1960s against the backdrop of the explosion of R&B thanks in large part to Berry Gordy and Motown Records, Sparkle is an artistic homage to the original 1974 film with it's own unique voice.
Looking to become the next Berry Gordy, a young man named Stix, played by Derek Luke (Friday Night Lights) helps three talented sisters form a R&B group which he hopes to get signed to a major record label. But as fame comes their way, it becomes more of a challenge for the family to stay together. Among those standing in the way of success is the girls' mother, Emma, a jaded and bitter former singer who now wants nothing more for her than "a respectful education and a relationship with the Lord."
American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks gives a adequate performance in her film debut as Sparkle, the youngest sister of the trio and Stix best chance at realizing his dream. It doesn't hurt they share the dream and a lot of chemistry. Carmen Ejogo channels Lonette McKee (Half & Half) and gives a stellar performance as Sister, the oldest, most defiant sister and the one most desperate for fame and fortune. The sister that the mother Emma fears will most likely follow in her footsteps.
Irony permeates a supporting part that was supposedly designed to be Whitney Houston's "comeback role" but instead sadly became her swan song. Although this was not a starring vehicle for Whitney, that fact, may be testament to her skill as an actor; not upstaging newcomer Sparks while still making her presence felt through her character's personality.
Surprisingly it's Mike Epps (Next Friday) who steals the show as Satin,a paradoxically evil stand-up comedian with whom Sister falls in love. His command of the screen displays his growth as an actor since his first roles as nothing more than comedic relief or bit parts early in his career. The fact that Epps who is a hilarious comedian in real life gave such a strong performance that was intentionally not funny but intensely dramatic should speak volumes to future casting directors who may have previously seen him as a one-note actor who would forever play sidekicks like "Black Dougs" as in The Hangover and Day-Days like his character in Next Friday and its sequel.
More than anything, Sparkle is a soulful musical complete with feel good R&B songs from the original like the Curtis Mayfield penned "Something He Can Feel" and "Hooked on Your Love" which are beloved classics today. Other catchy original songs for the film, like the melodic "One Wing" were produced by none other that R. Kelly himself. It's the gospel cornerstone "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" however, that provides Whitney an opportunity to provide yet another (but sadly her last) powerful performance that would make her mother, gospel legend, Cissy Houston proud.
Maybe it's that real life tragedy of that underlines the plot that also undermines it. Every time Whitney is on screen, one cannot help but feel a twinge of grief knowing she is no longer alive, ultimately because of the same showbiz demons that her onsceen daughter was battling.
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