Musical prodigy Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) struggles to become a star while overcoming issues that are tearing her family apart. From an affluent Detroit area and daughter to a single mother (Whitney Houston), she tries to balance a new romance with music manager, Stix (Derek Luke) while dealing with the unexpected challenges her new life will bring as she and her two sisters (Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter) strive to become a dynamic singing group during the Motown-era.
In Whitney Houston’s last film she ironically plays a woman named Emma who had beaten substance abuse and raised a family despite a teen pregnancy. Sadly, the things she warned her daughters about in this film had a part in her recent death. But she shines with a screen presence in this movie as she is a protective Christian mother when it comes to her daughters Tammy, called Sister, Delores who is called Dee, and Sparkle. She was a talented singer herself but wants her daughters to avoid the mistakes she made. Sparkle is a terrific song writer and Sister is a talented soloist. They go behind their mother’s back where they live in Detroit in the late sixties and meet an agent who begins to find them bookings all over the city. I must admit that the clothes and music took me back to the sixties as I watched this film and the filmmakers capture the period nicely.
Soon the temptations are many for the sisters and this is where decisions must be made. There are consequences to the decisions and, as Houston’s character says so well, “You can follow your dream and face certain heartbreak, or you can relinquish worldly, sensual folly and recommit to using your gifts to serve God.” This is one of the nice themes of the film, that all decisions contain consequences, either good or bad.
Despite some nice spiritual scenes in the movie there is strong use of language, the use of drugs, and sexual references which are a bit much for a family movie. And the violence will make some women viewers as well as others uncomfortable due to physical abuse to a character. Therefore we cannot award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this movie.