Supreme saga

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“ ‘Dream­girls” is a barely dis­guised ac­count of Berry Gordy and the rise of the Supremes; it fea­tures some brief, crisply writ­ten ex­pos­i­tory pas­sages and sev­eral pho­tomon­tage se­quences that de­tail the emer­gence of black artists as a ma­jor com­mer­cial force in Amer­i­can mu­sic of the 1960s — all seen against a back­ground of the Detroit ri­ots and the civil-rights move­ment. But, apart from th­ese episodes, just about ev­ery­thing is sung, and, in this movie, the songs aren’t merely com­men­tary on the nar­ra­tive and the per­sonal con­flicts; they are the nar­ra­tive and the drama — a rous­ing suc­cess story that is also (though we don’t re­al­ize it right away) a par­al­lel story of fail­ure. [. . .]

“ ‘Dream­girls’ ful­fills the ec­static prom­ise in­her­ent in all mu­si­cals — that life can be dis­solved into song and dance — but it does so with­out re­lin­quish­ing the tough­est es­ti­mate of how money and power work in the real world that song and dance leave be­hind.”

David Denby, writ­ing on “Best and Bright­est,” in the Dec. 25-Jan. 1 is­sue of the New Yorker

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