Musical prodigy, Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) struggles to become a star while overcoming issues that are tearing her family apart. From an affluent Detroit area and daughter to a single mother (Whitney Houston), she tries to balance a new romance with music manager Stix (Derek Luke) while dealing with the unexpected challenges her new life will bring as she and her two sisters (Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter) strive to become a dynamic singing group during the Motown-era.
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Superb, stunning performances cement the viewer's attention for the entirety of this quasi-nonfictional portrait of three, talented African American sisters, striving for notoriety in the late 1960's, Detroit, Michigan. Loosely based upon "The Supremes" .
With the formation of "Motown Records" in 1959, African Americans initiated their financial destiny; Barry Gordy, Jr. founder,is pivotal in paving the yellow-brick-path for notables like Jackie Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross and The Supremes. This is a richer scenario than we were subjected to; but the gifted actors transcended the ubiquitously tiresome plot; united warring daughters, fighting the shackles of a tyrannical, well-intentioned, religiously patronizing mother.
"Sister" the eldest and seasoned daughter (luminously beautiful, Carmen Ejogo) is the lead singer; bountifully sensual sprite; she's hypnotic and renders men incapable of casting their eyes elsewhere; a living, pulsating, titillating metaphor for the "honey" bees are powerless to reject.
"Dee" the brainy sibling, sings only for the fare for medical school; Tika Sumpter gives an intelligent depiction of a woman determined, resolved to flourish on her own terms and dictates.
"Sparkle" has inherited her mother's genius for composing; with each dawn and every dusk lyrics gallop through her mind, inform her day; she is naive, shy, but stalwart in her quest. Jordin Sparks (American Idol winner) is sensational as the idealistic girl, a chrysalis transformed into a formidable woman. Initially a simple soul, culminating in an individual of tremendous complexities; powerfully refusing to compromise.
"Emma Anderson" is intransigent, stubborn, sullen, but loving mother; her illusions have dissipated, her demons at bay; religion a haven, an oasis, anchor in a world of variables; she wants what all mothers want, a refined, happy life for her children; and what all mothers fear; progeny repeating the sins, misdemeanors, wretchedness fostered, suffered by their lineage.
Whitney Houston is "Emma" (1963- 2012) and the film is dedicated to her. She is remarkable as the tortured, controlling single parent, pulverizing in her religious passion; stymied, bereft of empathy in acknowledging the desires, insecurities, needs of her daughters. The portrayal is heart-wrenchingly poignant, imagining the nadir of her soul, the bleakness of her spirit; her inability to recognize inimitable, god-given talent, divinely hers, a beauty rarely rendered, somehow poisoned by living; pain lacerating the dawn; relieved by the solace, darkness of ever-present, everlasting night.