Tuesday, January 23, 2007
"Dreamgirls" is a musical in the sense that much of the dialog has been replaced by song. The other singing..the actual songs..are terrific, though from the cell phone usage (cut short by yours truly) not as universal as I would have thought. What do high school kids know, besides everything, right?
Dreamgirls is a period fiction but may be compared to two earlier films, "Ray" and "Walk the Line." Ray was very much about Ray and Walk the Line about Johnny Cash, but Walk the Line put Johnny into musical perspective, with Elvis and the Bopper in short roles.
Dreamgirls is the story of Motown and and specifically Diana Ross and the Supremes. I love this music, but guessed wrong on some of the parts, much to my chagrin. I fully intend to correct my scant knowledge of R&B history..as many lovers of Jackie Brown have already.
Acting is mostly terrific..Eddy Murphy stands out on the male side, and the American Idol (I have never seen an episode) Jennifer Hudson dares to let us not like her for much of the film, knowing she already has you.
The music is top notch, of course, the camera, while not pushing any edges, does a great job capturing the period. The story is heartbreaking, and embarrassing for this white guy..as is much of our history. I promise not to get on the soapbox about Tuskagee..this time.
Politics and business burble under the surface of this film, but the burble is constant, not like in Ray's creative bubble where he had to be picketed to notice the wrong around him. Those of who who want to wait on this one, so be it, your loss. It is original, historical and emotional and it is not a remake.