Dreamgirls
2/4
poster

Details & Information from IMDB

Genre Musical
Year 2006
Duration 131 min
Rating 6.7 out of 10
Description: "Fame Comes And Goes, Stars Rise And Fall, But Dreams Live Forever"

Based on the Broadway musical, a trio of black female soul singers cross over to the pop charts in the early 1960's.
Comments: I saw a preview screening of Dreamgirls on Nov. 15. and have to say I was pretty blown away by it. I can always tell when a movie really hits me because the thought immediately runs through my head, "Wow, I can't wait to OWN this on DVD." Needless to say, Dreamgirls is now at the top of my "To Buy" list.

I saw the original Michael Bennett production in 1985, a few years into its Broadway run when Jennifer Holliday was no longer in the Effie role. But even without Holliday I found the show and its score to be among Broadway's best. While I certainly hoped this movie would at least give us a respectable representation of what made the Broadway show so thrilling, I must admit I was afraid to get my expectations too high after the recent string of disappointing stage to screen musical transfers - Phantom of the Opera, Rent and The Producers. Yeah, I had heard the buzz was good for Dreamgirls, but, well, you know how that goes. Sometimes the bigger the buzz the flatter it falls.

And let's face it. Movie musicals are just flat-out tough to pull off. While I consider the number of truly great movies to be pretty small, the list of truly great movie MUSICALS is even smaller. And the ones that manage to do more than just recreate a literal adaptation of the stage play, truly utilizing the medium of film to create something bold and cinematic are almost non existent: Cabaret, Chicago...maybe one or two others...end of story. Plus, I think it's even more difficult to successfully transfer musicals to film today given modern audiences inability to accept characters "breaking into song."

So I hope I'm not adding to the already extensive hype when I report that, for me at least, Dreamgirls delivers big time. The film manages to achieve the near impossible task of remaining faithful to it's source material (in fact, several times it gives direct nods to Bennett's brilliant original staging) while utilizing the medium of film to it's fullest, creating something fresh and exciting in its own right.

Dreamgirls not only transitions seamlessly between spoken dialog and musical numbers, but redefines musical storytelling by using the musical artifice of "breaking into song" carefully and judiciously to punctuate only those moments in the movie when the emotion builds to the point where words can no longer adequately contain it. I can't express strongly enough how impressed I was with the way Bill Condon managed to handle these transitions. Truly masterful. But it's not just the transitions that are handled well. The movie is artfully rendered and exquisitely produced in literally every area with outstanding, heartfelt performances by each and every cast member. And yes, Jennifer Hudson is as good as they say. I can honestly say that there's no way I can imagine this film being done any better.

If there's any weak spot in Dreamgirls, it's the dramatic flaws inherent in the piece itself. The second act of the stage play (after "and I'm telling you I'm not going") was never quite as dramatically intense or focused as the first. And the movie feels pretty much the same way. But, believe me, this is a minor flaw compared to what's RIGHT about Dreamgirls.

Make no mistake. This film is going to be a triumph and earn a place in movie history. Not to mention my DVD library.