Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Went to see Dreamgirls on Christmas Day at Pacific Place. The theater was jam-packed for the 2PM show, it was hard to find a good seat. The audience an eclectic mix of gay men, black women, teens, hipsters, and families.

After all the hype, I was prepared for a let-down. The story is sort of wooden and predictable (more like something from the Biography channel). But the singing and the songs are wonderful. Eddie Murphy does a great job as James Thunder Early, a James Brown-Little Richard-Rick James-like singer and showman. Jamie Fox plays the Barry Gordy-like Genius-Promoter turned Machiavellian-Mogul mostly as a one-dimensional bad guy. Beyonce is just darn pretty. There are interesting bits about the history of the times: black music becoming mainstream, civil rights riots in the streets, the Vietnam War raging in the background (Murphy's character wants to do a message song about Vietnam, and all the "brothers" dying there, but it gets nixed, because "message doesn't sell, people want songs to make them happy;" a telling comment, perhaps, on our present time, and the Iraq war?).

Jennifer Hudson's performance as Effie ("I don't do backup") is the best thing about the movie. I thought she was perfect for the role, and that she totally nailed her character. In fact, it did not seem like she was playing a character at all, but was channeling something from deep inside, from her own life. I did not fear for the architectural integrity of the building when she hit her notes (as has been written in some reviews). But I definitely had tears in my eyes several times, her songs are just so incredibly moving. Effie's story is universal: it's about staying true to your voice; about the pain of being passed over, being betrayed/wronged; about falling down and coming back stronger. She is not so much a Diva as a Survivor.

Go see it. You'll feel saved.

2 comments:

Collin said...

All together now...and I am telling you...I'm not going...you're the best man I'll ever know...

;)

jenni said...

I want to see this movie SO bad. Jennifer was one of my pics in Idol and I'm so happy to see that she's risen from that and done her own thing--didn't she get a Golden Globe nod for this part? Anyway, I've been watching the trailers on HBO and I can't wait until it comes to town (we're a little slow here in the south).

Hope you and family had a great Christmas and Happy New Year to you!