Dreamgirls: Music from the Motion Picture
The most highly-anticipated movie of the season also features the most highly-anticipated soundtrack of the year. With an outstanding cast comprised of the talents of singer-songwriter-actress Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and rising star Jennifer Hudson, the soundtrack to Dreamgirls more than surpasses fans’ expectations. Soundtrack includes the critically-acclaimed hit song “Listen.”
The big question about this soundtrack is: how’s she doing? No, not Beyoncé, silly—how’s Jennifer Hudson doing? And more specifically, how’s she doing by “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”? To this reviewer’s ears, she doesn’t top the original Effie, Jennifer Holliday—or even Lillias White, from the 2001 Dreamgirls in Concert. On the other hand, Hudson isn’t afraid to pullout all the stops, whipping herself up into a total diva frenzy as the song getscaught up in an unstoppable crescendo. As for Beyoncé, she adapts superbly to the 1960s- and 1970s-tinged material, though “Listen”—a ballad that also appears on her own B’day album—lacks the spirit that infuses the classic tunes on this album. For make no mistake: this is hard-hitting, high-octane music, infused with an urgency and passion that makes most contemporary R&B albums sound timid. When Hudson and Beyoncé duke it out on “It’s All Over,” or when the “One Night Only” ballad gets reinvented as the dance-floor burner “One Night Only (Disco),” the sheer energy flowing from the speakers is transporting.
Note that the two-CD Deluxe Edition features a larger booklet and additional tracks, including dance remixes of “One Night Only” and “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” as well as composer Henry Krieger’s demo of “Patience.” —Elisabeth Vincentelli
Director Bill Condon brings Tom Eyen’s Tony award-winning Broadway musical to the big screen in a tale of dreams, stardom, and the high cost of success in the cutthroat recording industry.
The time is the 1960s, and singers Effie (Jennifer Hudson), Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose), and Deena (Beyoncé Knowles) are about to find out just what it’s like to have their wildest dreams come true. Discovered at a local talent show by ambitious manager Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx), the trio known as “the Dreamettes” is soon offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of opening for popular singer James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy). Subsequently molded into an unstoppable hit machine by Taylor and propelled into the spotlight as “the Dreams,” the girls quickly find their bid for the big time taking priority over personal friendship as Taylor edges out the ultra-talented Effie so that the more beautiful Deena can become the face of the group. Now, as the crossover act continues to dominate the airwaves, the small-town girls with big-city dreams slowly begin to realize that the true cost of fame may be higher than any of them ever anticipated.