OK for kids 14+
Whitney Houston's final film has some mature elements.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sparkle is a remake of a '70s melodrama about the many travails that face those who seek fame and fortune in the music industry. Starring late pop superstar Whitney Houston (in her final film) and former American Idol champion Jordin Sparks, the period showbiz drama will appeal to both young Idol and older Houston fans. Like most showbiz industry tales, Sparkle has a fair amount of substance use (alcohol and drugs) and sexuality (passionate foreplay, revealing outfits, and discussion of adultery, premarital sex, and teen pregnancy). Even more unsettling is the portrayal of an abusive marriage that shows a couple hitting and hurting each other (the wife-beater is eventually killed in self defense). Despite the more intense elements, though, Sparkle is ultimately inspiring for young artists who want to reach for the stars.
- Families can talk about Sparkle's messages about the entertainment industry. How does a glimpse of fame and fortune change characters? Why does Sparkle respond differently to the prospect of the music industry than her older sister does?
- How is domestic abuse portrayed here? Does the fact that a comedian plays the violent husband take away from the severity of the subject?
- Emma is a strict mom, but she has her rules for a reason. How does her emphasis on family, faith, and education reach each of her girls differently? Do you think parents are stern for good reasons?
The good stuff
Messages: While there are some cautionary messages about marrying for money, allowing yourself to stay in an abusive relationship, and even not supporting your kids' passions, there are also positive themes. Sparkle, Stix, and Dolores all have big dreams: to make music and to become a doctor, respectively. Their journeys are filled with ups and downs, but none of them gives up, and by the end of the movie, they've all accomplished their goals.
Role models: Despite the two self-destructive characters, Sister and Satin, Sparkle does have several positive role models. Dolores considers singing a means to the end of getting into a good medical school and becoming a doctor; she's grateful for her mother's strict encouragement of education. Sparkle follows her dream of becoming singer-songwriter without being disrespectful to her mother. Emma seems overly rigid, but she realizes she shouldn't squash her daughter's dreams.
What to watch for
Violence: Domestic abuse is depicted; soon after their marriage, Satin begins to hit Sister, who fights back. Satin also strikes Sparkle across the face. Characters are shown with bruises on their face and body. Two men nearly come to blows at a nightclub. During a climactic fight, a character is killed in self defense.
Sex: Sister exudes sexuality with her sultry mode of singing, her barely there clothes, and her provocative dancing (the other two sisters are considerably more demure). In a couple of marital love scenes, Sister and Satin grope and kiss each other passionately while wearing nightclothes/lingerie. Sparkle and Stix kiss and flirt, and Sparkle mentions that she's a virgin. Emma mentions teenage hormones, premarital sex, and illegitimate children.
Language: Occasional strong language and insults, including a couple uses of "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "ass," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God," "hell," "whore," and "jerk." Also some racial slurs, such as "Sambo" and "coon," said by African-American characters.
Consumerism: Mentions of Barry Gordy, Motown, Columbia Records, and Cadillacs.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: In addition to drinking in nightclubs and parties, Sister's husband introduces her to cocaine and heroin and overindulging in alcohol. She becomes the cautionary-tale junkie by the end of the movie. Several characters smoke cigarettes -- from a mother to clubgoers.
Fan Reviews provided by
Sparkle Sparkles!!! by nurseypie2005
OK, I'll be the first to admit that I am one of the many Loyalists to the 1976 original. I was a bit eerie about remaking such a classic favorite. But, to my surprise, I was impressed. The updated Sparkle does a great job of showing the strong bond between the sisters and showcasing the namesake's character. Also, the new version has more of a mainstream/ cross-over appeal (not that the 76 cult classic shared a desire to do so). It was a delightful movie that brought tears to my eyes. It was bittersweet to see Whitney. She looked so healthy. Overall, I feel too loyal to the original to say that Sparkle 2012 was better, but I definitely give the producers an A+ for keeping just the right balance of respecting the 76 Sparkle but telling their own story in 2012. One more thing: That Jordan can SANG!!!!! Not sing, SANG!!!
A Must See by Redhot4u2c
There are a lot of changes in this movie from the original, but the message is still the same. I myself had to seperate the old from the new, so that I could thoroughly appreciate the changes. I was so surprised at Jordin Sparks performance in the movie. She did an excellent job, and her singing was superb. It was so good to see my girl Nippy on screen for her final performance. And when she sang His Eye Is On The Sparrow, she definitely delivered as I knew she would. Whitney at her worst, was still superior to most at their best. In my eyes she could do no wrong though..And I Will Always Love You Nippy. Mike Epps, Omari Hardwick, Derek Luke, Cee-Lo, Tika Sumpter, Carmen Ejogo, and the entire cast were superb. Was good to see singer Kem also in the movie. I initially thought the casting for the men could have been changed around, but after seeing everyones role was perfect for them. I just had to stop thinking about the original....LOL...Go see for yourself that this is a winner,
Must see Sparkle by aketig13
Sparkle was a wonderful movie. The music was hot and the story line was good. This one plucks at your heart strings. This was one of Whitney's best. People need to definitely go check it out.
Sparkle by silverback62
Very entertaining movie. I grew up during the time period that the movie portrays so I loved the music. Whitney Huston played her role very well. The songs were well done!
Very Good!!! A Smashing Success! by Sunshyne153
I enjoyed the movie....a bit different from the original, but refreshing. Whitney looked beautiful, I did shed a few tears when she sung. I think the girls Jordin Sparks, Tika Sumpter and Carmen Ejogo all performed well. Now...Mike Epps...so SEXY! I just wanted to jump into the screen and kiss him! :) Kudos to Derek Luke and Omari Hardwick.
Sparkled by Coolassal
Neva wanted to watch the original, I jus didnt care enuff to wanna invest my time, so i was skeptical abt this one. Whatta pleasant surprise, it was really well put together cast, story was great , acting was great. I have every intention on watching the original today.
one of the greatest movies of our time by konnichiwa48
Sparkle is a good movie i cryed like a baby one of the best movies i have ever seen the acting was out of this world Mike E was great i almost didnt know it was him well written,directing.cinematography,all of this movie is outstanding everyone should get a reward Jordin sparks remind me of myself when i was a young girl .It touched home loved it all im going to see it again.
Sister and the Sisters are amazing by faye002
There are definitely more pros than cons for seeing this movie. The obvious is, no matter what you thought of how Whitney Houston lived her life, there is no doubt about her talent. When she sang His Eye Is On the Sparrow, it brought tears to my eyes. There will never be another voice. Family conflicts, domestic violence, drug addiction, greed, but most of all love. The love a sister will embody to protect her sisters. Jordan Sparks voice alone was strong and amazing. The only thing I did not like was the obvious lip singing by the girls as a group.
I have never been a Cee Lo Green fan.
Very good and inspiring movie! by businessfunds
I don't want to give away the movie but I'm going to say that Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) had to overcome tough obstacles in this movie. She did an amazing job singing. Whitney Houston performance was solid (acting & singing)
Great Movie by dantemallory
I loved it. The cast did a wonderful job and I really enjoyed the twist from the original movie which came out the year I was born. Go see it.