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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Movie Review: Dreamgirls


    After seeing “”Dreamgirls,”” one thing will be certain – you’re going to love her. By “”her,”” I mean Golden Globe winner Jennifer Hudson, not Beyonce Knowles. Hudson’s performance beat every other Effie White performance to the ground. All that Knowles received was a best actress nomination that wasn’t even taken seriously by any critics.

    Set in the early 1960s, “”Dreamgirls”” follows the rise and fall of The Dreams – a trio of three black women who dance and sing showtunes that become hits, all thanks to their big-business, shark-of-a-manager Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx).

    Deena Jones, played by Knowles, is the Dream with the femme-fatale looks, looks that have Curtis going ga-ga for her to be the group’s lead.

    This comes as a surprise to White(Hudson, of “”American Idol”” fame), who steals the spotlight from Knowles, as well as Knowles’ character Deena Jones – all in eight words.

    “”And I am telling you, I’m not going,”” sings Effie, in a breath of melody that carries more emotion than a Spanish soap opera. Her performance leaves you glued to your seat. She is motionless as she delivers; only her hands hit the air as she belts high, tear-filled notes.

    But in the end, Curtis makes Deena a star. She becomes the lead actress in the movie “”Cleopatra”” and sells millions of albums and has an amazing life. You get the picture.

    All the while, Effie relies on government money to take care of her daughter and resigns herself to being a victim of the media’s superficial love of skinnier women.

    The movie, directed by Bill Condon, gives light to media issues that are still prevalent today: the skinny girl over the fat one, the beautiful face over the amazing voice. Isn’t it all too real? Not for Knowles, apparently.

    Knowles lived the experience of being in a rocky girl band herself, when Destiny’s Child first broke up after The Writing’s on the Wall, its second album. And she still isn’t able to play the role of a former bandmate. She focuses on portraying singers like Diana Ross and Donna Summer in this movie instead of bringing something from her own experience.

    131 min.
    Paramount Pictures

    The shots are magnificent, though. The monochromatic backgrounds play a pivotal role in showcasing the stars. The gig that The Dreams gets in Florida is a show stopper with its excessively flashy, twinkling lights. It looks like a scene right out of “”Star Wars.””

    And who can forget Eddie Murphy as James “”Thunder”” Early? His character is hilariously eccentric. Most of the laughs come from Early’s wild way of living life in the music industry.

    Hudson, though, she’s the real star of the film. Only when she is on-screen does the movie feel like a musical. Only when she sings does the movie gain that Broadway feel. Hudson is able to connect with Effie to bring about the emotion needed to portray the part. It’s a hard task to do, especially for a first-time actress. But Hudson’s accomplishment makes “”Dreamgirls”” a real treat.

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