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Film Review – Sparkle

Director: Salim Akil
Screenplay: Mara Brock Akil, Howard Rosenman
Cast: Jordin Sparks, Whitney Houston, Tika Sumpter, Mike Epps, Carmen Ejogo, Derek White, CeeLo Green
Genre: Musical Drama
Rating: * * * * * * * (Out Of 10)
Venue: Ster Kinekor Maerua Mall, Cine 4

Set in an era where music liberated people from their problems, the 1960s, Sparkle is a film about three sisters, Sparkle (Jordin Sparks), Dolores (Tika Sumpter) and Sister (Carmen Ejogo) and their no-nonsense Christian mother, Emma (Whitney Houston). Complicating this social mix is the vexing presence of determined music manager, Stix (Derek Luke). The sisters become some of the best Motown singers in Detroit, despite Emma’s disapproval. Mother Emma still suffers from memories when she almost lost her life in her pursuit of a singing career. She is afraid a similar fate will befall her daughters.
Sparkle is the youngest sister. She is trapped in a world where she struggles to please her stern single mother and also struggles to spread her wings and become the star that she badly wants to be. However, there is a price which one must pay to become a star and Sparkle must choose between her sisters, mother and her boyfriend and the group’s manager Stix. Sparkle is sweet and shy just like Jordin Sparks in real life. She is so innocent that she doesn’t seem fully aware of the dramas going on around her. She sees the good in everyone and is oblivious to their bad sides.
I must admit there was a point at which I thought the film was just another ‘Dream Girls’ or ‘Mama I want to sing’ kind of movie and immediately started to lose interest but the film proved to be unlike any other film. This one, instead is about family, forgiveness and sacrifice. It is about letting go of the past and allowing the present and future to take its place. Creators of comedies ‘The Game’ and ‘Half and Half’, husband and wife team, Salim and Mara Brock Akil, did an excellent job creating this movie. The set design, costumes and script blend in together to make ‘Sparkle’ one the best Motown music films that has ever been made. Cameo appearances by singers CeeLo Green and soul songstress Goapele are just the cherry on top of an already delicious cake.
The acting is ‘A’ standard. All the actors work together to expand each other’s characters. It left me satisfied and eventually it turned out to be a most enjoyable movie.
My favourite characters are Dolores and Sister, I loved Dolores’ no nonsense attitude and  Sister is just awesome. She is grown and sexy and proves that despite being in an abusive relationship she is strong and will do anything for her sisters.
Another star performance is by Mike Epps. From playing goofy funny characters to playing the sleek, foulmouthed, controlling and abusive character Satin Struthers, Epps went out of his comfort zone and delivered a memorable killer performance.
The film is a perfect blend of show stopping music, drama, suspense and emotion. It invites the viewer to get emotionally embroiled in both the action and the performances. The scene where Dolores and Sparkle try to free their sister from her abusive fiance and have to fight Struthers, is touching and made me want to get into the screen and knock some much-needed sense into the good-for-nothing egotistical moron.
I enjoyed the film so much I didn’t want it to end. I almost wanted to get tickets for the sequel until I remembered that there isn’t one, (which shows I’m hoping that there will be). I can guarantee that Sparkle will indeed become a classic in African American cinema.

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