Dreamgirls Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Fame flitters just beyond the grasp of Effie White (Jennifer Hudson), Deena Jones (Beyonce Knowles) and Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose) when the three girls from the Detroit housing projects fail to place at an amateur talent night. But Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx), a shady used car salesman, knows star material when he sees it. Backstage the wannabe recording manager offers the dejected trio a chance to sing backup for R&B soloist Jimmy “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy).
While the girls hit the road with Jimmy, Curtis sells off his car business and uses less-than-ethical means to get the group’s music played on mainstream radio stations. He also decides to give the threesome a shot at going out on their own. After renaming the new girl-only group The Dreamers, he secures a gig for them in a mainly white establishment in order to help them crossover from R&B to the more widely accepted pop charts. At their first engagement, Curtis also pulls the full-figured Effie off lead and moves her to backup in favor of the more attractive Deena.
However as he focuses on making Deena a star, Effie becomes more dissatisfied with the arrangement until she is ultimately kicked out. As the unemployed singer struggles to raise a daughter on welfare, Deena, Lorrell and Effie’s replacement, Michelle (Sharon Leal), go on to gain international acclaim.
Still the glamorous lifestyle, transatlantic celebrity status and numerous record albums don’t always equal happiness. Curtis’s constant morphing of his performers’ musical style for the sake of increased profits makes him lose sight of the human side of the business and causes growing fractions among the artists.
Dreamgirls, based on the Broadway musical, gives viewers an outstanding soundtrack with vocal performances by several of the actors including 2004 American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson.
Unfortunately it also dishes out a portrayal of the less savory part of the music industry, such as illegal drugs, alcohol use, infidelity and corrupt trade practices. In addition, Curtis’ degrading treatment of women and his unscrupulous control tactics leave the trio with an unpleasant aftertaste.
Yet as the girls realize the high cost of fame, they also grow personally. As Effie learns to stand up for her own musical abilities, Deena and Lorrell shake off their starry-eyed daydreams and face the hard reality of a career behind the microphone. For older teen viewers aspiring to the spotlight, the glitz and glamour of center stage may be appealing. However, Dreamgirls is a candid but sometimes content-heavy reminder that all that glitters is not gold.Starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy. Running time: 131 minutes. Theatrical release December 24, 2006. Updated November 16, 2009
Rating & Content Info
Why is Dreamgirls rated PG-13? Dreamgirls is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for language, some sexuality and drug content.
Fame comes with a cost. The young star struck singers soon find themselves being fondled backstage and involved in unmarried, sexual relationships. (A brief scene of an unclothed couple in bed is shown.) While smoking is a common habit for many of the performers, some also use cocaine and other illegal drugs. Degrading racial jokes and the demeaning treatment of women are depicted along with footage of the 1960s Detroit racial riots. Jimmy’s onstage performances include pelvic thrusts, gyrating hips and one scene in which he drops his pants. Along with the portrayal of illegal business practices, the script also contains some sexual comments, profanities and a sexual expletive.
Page last updated November 16, 2009
Dreamgirls Parents' Guide
Although Effie has an incredible singing voice, she doesn’t have the “look” that Curtis wants to promote with his new girl group. What part does body image play in the success of performers from then and now? What great singers from the past may not have made it if they would have been judged on their bodies first and their vocal talents second?
Despite the problems brewing among the trio, the girls still have to go onstage even after a fight with Effie. What does it mean to put on a show face? How do their personal and public lives differ?
While the girls enjoy a number of perks from their careers as singers, they also have to deal with the less glamorous aspects of the business. What kind of work is involved in having a successful musical career? What sacrifices do they have to make? What would be the undesirable parts of such a job?
The most recent home video release of Dreamgirls movie is April 24, 2007. Here are some details…
When Dreamgirls struts its stuff on DVD, fans of the musical-turned-movie can indulge their passion with alternate scenes and extended musical numbers. They will also get Beyonce’s Music video Listen. The audio tracks are available in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 (English, French, Spanish).
Related home video titles:
Jamie Foxx delivers an Oscar award winning performance when he takes on the role of musical legend Ray Charles in the film Ray. Beyonce Knowles plays a sultry barroom jazz singer who is recruited to join the church choir in The Fighting Temptations. Eddie Murphy lends his vocal and singing talents to the character of Donkey in Shrek and Shrek 2.