Film Review: ‘Sparkle’ is Dull for Whitney Houston Swan Song

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – Given the shocking circumstances of Whitney Houston’s passing, it is a bit disconcerting to see her vibrantly alive again in the new film “Sparkle.” However, if she was still with us, this trifling and dull film would soon be forgotten. Jordan Sparks, Derek Luke and Carmen Ejogo co-star. Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

It is unfortunate that this will be Houston’s last public work, because “Sparkle” never really shines. The characters go through the standard mode kids-let’s-put-on-a-show, with standard obstacles like religion, household rules and unmotivated push back from negative people – including Houston’s role. There are some dramatic musical numbers, but they are expressed mostly as set pieces rather than memorable tunes. There is a lot of sincerity in the performances and overall production, yet sincerity cannot overcome the drawback of a dishwater story.

It’s 1968 Detroit, and three sisters are in or on the verge of adulthood, and are living in the home of their mother Emma (Whitney Houston). The oldest, nicknamed Sister (Carmen Ejogo), is the prodigal daughter, having come home after a failed attempt as a singer. Dolores (Tiki Sumpter) is soon off to medical school. The youngest is named Sparkle (Jordin Sparks), and her dreams are of music, as she constantly writes songs in her journal.

There is a family friend named Stix (Derek Luke), who sees the potential in both forming the sisters as a girl group and Sparkle’s songs. The girls rise through the Detroit music scene, drawing interest from both Motown records and major labels. This goes on without the knowledge of Emma, whose religious insistence and household rules run counter to the ambitions of the group. When an oily comedian named Satin (Mike Epps) starts courting Sister, their coupling begins a cycle of downfall for the fledgling singing act.

“Sparkle,” opens everywhere on August 17th. Featuring Jordin Sparks, Whitney Houston, Derek Luke, Mike Epps, Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick and Cee Lo Green. Screenplay by Mara Brock Akil. Directed by Salim Akil. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Sparkle”

Jordin Sparks, Whitney Houston’
Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) and her Mother Emma (Whitney Houston) in ‘Sparkle’
Photo credit: Alicia Gbur for TriStar Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Sparkle”

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • Adriana Leonard & Carley Marcelle

    CHICAGO – When two passionate content creators got together, they sought not only to produce a work of entertainment, but a higher philosophy within it. Co-Writers/Directors and Executive Producers Adriana Leonard and Carley Marcelle have created “Beta” A Digital Series, and they are about to launch it.

  • Xfinity Watchathon

    CHICAGO – Comcast announced last week that the Xfinity Watchathon Week 2020 will take place from May 11th through the 17th. Included in the free offerings for customers will be the Hulu originals “Little Fires Everywhere” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and other original shows from EPIX, STARZ and SHOWTIME channels. The Watchathon will be available on the X1, Flex and Xfinity Stream platforms.

Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions