This review aired on Greater Boston just before the August 16th premiere of the new film Sparkle, starring Jordin Sparks and featuring the late Whitney Houston.
Sparkle is about a group of girls growing up in 1960s Motown, trying to get together their own singing group and give the reigning Supremes a challenge. It's the last film that Whitney Houston completed before her tragic death. She plays the single mother trying to raise these three girls to walk along the straight and narrow.
Remaking the 1976 film Sparkle was Houston's vision, and a project that she had worked on for more than a decade. The disparate elements of the film don't come back to form a complete whole, but perhaps that's fitting, as the anchor to the film left a void as well.
Meanwhile, Jordin Sparks, winner of the 2007 American Idol competition at age 17, is coming into her own as an actress. She shines as the composer and leader of the trio who can't let go of the music.
Still, it's seeing Houston as a healthy, maternal figure who delivers one number of her own, that finally gives the film its poignancy. Houston fans have already ensured that this film will get some buzz regardless of its flaws.
To recognize Houston's passing, the Sparkle website features a special tribute to Houston, inviting fans to add their own photos to an interactive mosaic, along with messages to the belated pop star and those who continue to miss her.