They say that art imitates life, and in the case of the star-studded film, Sparkle, starring Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, and Mike Epps the saying could not be more true.
The film is a remake of the original 1976 film, and centers around Emma (Houston) a former entertainer turned proper church advocate, and her three talented daughters, most notably Sparkle (played by Jordin Sparks), the youngest, talented sister who fights to keep her family together and their music career on track. Unfortunately, Emma cannot save her daughters from a life of a fame that she decides to leave behind, and they end up falling prey to some of the hazards of the lifestyle. The depth of Houston’s performance matches the same fiery nature she demonstrated in her own life.
Although, the fictional character, Emma, escaped the clutches of fame’s darker side, Houston’s personal life went a different way. “It’s gritty and it’s emotional, and you are emotionally spent after you see the film,” said leading lady Jordin Sparks in her MTV.com interview. The film was very close to Houston’s heart, and as one of the executive producers, she pours herself into the project. The audience is given a full dose of her poise, and iconic voice towards the latter portion of the film, as Emma performs “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”. This performance defines the film and provides true fans of the songstress with a solemn goodbye.
As for Emma’s three daughters, Sister (Carmen Ejogo), Delores (Tika Sumpter), and Sparkle their formation of a singing trio does not sit well with their mother. The three characters are clearly defined and help to move the story into the different views of celebrity and fame. Although Sparks is set to lead the film, Ejogo’s tortured character seems to steal the show. Ejogo’s character, Sister, is a battered woman struggling to balance love and hurt in an abusive relationship with Satin (Epps). Satin is the most thoroughly developed character clearly depicting a dramatic rise to fame and a heartbreaking fall from the spotlight, which mirrors parts of Houston’s own life. During an interview with MTV.com, Ejogo quotes Houston, ‘Learn from me, learn from this cautionary tale,’ is literally what she says in the movie, and that’s amazing.” It’s obvious that her influence in the film resonates throughout.
All-in-all, Sparkle is exactly what Houston describes it as, a cautionary tale, but also a celebration. The film celebrates true talent, while warning against the trials of surviving life in the spotlight. It’s beautiful to be able to have this film as a final testament of the talented and unforgettable Ms. Whitney Houston.