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Gotta Have Me Some Soul From "Dreamgirls"

Updated on November 22, 2019
Charito1962 profile image

Ms. Charito is a Filipino based in Manila. She has worked as an executive assistant and a journalist. She is a widow with a grown-up son.

I once watched The Oprah Winfrey Show where the guests were two singers I like - Beyonce Knowles and Jamie Foxx. For a moment, I thought they were talking about some collaboration on an album. But as soon as Winfrey called to the stage comedian Eddie Murphy, Broadway star Anika Noni Rose, and American Idol sensation Jennifer Hudson, I knew there was something more. Watching on, I discovered that these five stars were talking about their latest movie, Dreamgirls.

A film with a powerhouse cast? A musical? That piqued my interest. Thus, I lost no time going to the nearest video shop to buy the DVD. As soon as I played it and saw the opening scene, I immediately declared, "Hey, it sounds like Motown!" (And I still keep my albums of these artists whose music I listened and danced to in the ‘70s.)

Yes, Dreamgirls is a film for those of us who like the '60s and '70s American R&B music. Brought to the big screen from the Broadway stage, the movie is about the denizens of the music industry. It's the story of how a black female group from Detroit, Michigan - Deena Jones & the Dreams (Knowles as Deena, Rose as Lorrell Maya Robinson, and Hudson as Effie White) - gets a lucky break and quickly rises to stardom. Spicing up the story is the maneuvering of the record producer Curtis Taylor, Jr. (played by Foxx) who clashes with talent manager Marty Madison (played by Danny Glover) and songwriter C.C. White (played by Keith Robinson). Add to that the pitiful downfall of Effie and loud performer Jimmy "Thunder" Early (played by Murphy).

Deena Jones & the Dreams : Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose), Deena (Beyonce Knowles) and Effie (Jennifer Hudson)
Deena Jones & the Dreams : Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose), Deena (Beyonce Knowles) and Effie (Jennifer Hudson) | Source

I associate Deena Jones & the Dreams with Diana Ross & the Supremes, Jimmy "Thunder" Early with James Brown, C.C. White with Smokey Robinson, and The Campbell Connection with The Jackson 5.

A 60’s photo showing Diana Ross (far right) performing with the Supremes on "The Ed Sullivan Show". Deena Jones & the Dreams is based on this group.
A 60’s photo showing Diana Ross (far right) performing with the Supremes on "The Ed Sullivan Show". Deena Jones & the Dreams is based on this group. | Source

Yet, what gets me hooked each time I watch Dreamgirls is not the story, but the music! The song and dance sequences are simply sensational! I snap my fingers and sing along to the upbeat songs Move, Fake Your Way to the Top, Cadillac Car, Steppin' to the Bad Side (love the "Gonna take a mean ride" line!) and Heavy.

Effie (Jennifer Hudson), Deena (Beyonce Knowles) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose) performing "Move"

"Cadillac Car"

"Steppin' to the Bad Side"


But the tunes that so captivate me are the mellow Family and When I First Saw You which Foxx and Knowles sing as a duet at the closing credits.

We are a family

Like a giant tree

Branching out toward the sky.

We are a family.

We are so much more

Than just you and I.

We are a family

Like a giant tree

Growing stronger, growing wiser.

We are growing free.

— From "Family"


Curtis (Jamie Foxx) singing "When I First Saw You"

Still, my attention is immediately drawn to the It’s All Over number, as I feel its intensity. It’s amazing how a confrontation scene can be well presented with music.

"It's All Over"

Also, Hudson's rendition of And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going is, indeed, a praiseworthy effort. (But I do feel squeamish about her mushing over Foxx!)

Hudson belting out "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going"

My kudos, too, to Murphy for doing an exceptional job playing Jimmy. I’m especially entertained by his raucous performances in the numbers Fake Your Way to the Top and Jimmy’s Rap. In fact, my son loves aping him that I have to stop him from declaring "Sweet Mother Jesus" which I consider a profanity.

Jimmy “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy) doing his grating "Fake Your Way to the Top"

A 1969 photo of the Jackson 5 with the late Michael wearing a hat. The Campbell Connection is based on this group.
A 1969 photo of the Jackson 5 with the late Michael wearing a hat. The Campbell Connection is based on this group. | Source

I'm amused at Lorrell who’s foolishly devoted to Jimmy. I find her naive and dumb, particularly in that bus scene where she asks Jimmy "What's R&B mean?", and he jokes, "Rough and black."

I’m also impressed by the little lead singer of The Campbell Connection. In the number Perfect World, he performs his Michael Jackson-inspired role with much ease and confidence.

I recommend Dreamgirls to anyone looking for lively entertainment. The songs will keep playing in your head after watching it. Just think of these lyrics : "We're your dreamgirls...Boys, we'll make you happy."

"Dreamgirls" theme song

Have you seen "Dreamgirls"?

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Got some soul to tell us something?

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  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    You're welcome! Thanks for visiting!

  • sujaya venkatesh profile image

    sujaya venkatesh 

    5 years ago

    tnq for the musical treat

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Wow, you sure have some connections, word55! When I was young, I used to imagine what it was like being in the recording business. My love of music has also prompted me to write a few songs. Unfortunately, I don't play any instrument and I can't read notes.

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by! Warm regards!

  • word55 profile image

    Al Wordlaw 

    5 years ago from Chicago

    Hi Charito, you've shared some very wonderful information here. Yes, growing up on MOTOWN music has landed me in the business for life. At one time I was introduced to the Holland Brothers songwriting team at Motown (Holland Dozier Holland). I was given the assignment of producing a couple of songs for their singing niece living here in Chicago. It was a great experience although nothing much became of it. Dreamgirls is a classic movie. Jennifer lived six miles from me. It would have been nice to have her voice on one of my tracks. Beyonce's voice too. Anyway, thanks for presenting such a wonderful and well researched musical hub. All the videos were great entertainment too. You are full of life!

  • Rangoon House profile image


    6 years ago from Australia

    I did see this movie and loved it - the music, the fashion and the social history.

  • MJ Martin profile image

    MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 

    6 years ago from Washington State

    Great review on this film. Love the videos you shared. Going to check out the movie now. Love this music too.

  • RonElFran profile image

    Ronald E Franklin 

    6 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

    I haven't seen Dreamgirls, but I love listening to the music of that era.

  • tazzytamar profile image


    6 years ago from chichester

    I heard so much about this film and still haven't seen it! I definitely will now though!

  • queenofduvetcover profile image


    6 years ago

    I loved the movie dream girls! My favorite part was when Jennifer Hudson sang the song "And I am telling you". Loved the emotion in the song. Great review. Thanks for sharing. =)

  • aminebombom profile image


    6 years ago from Doha, Qatar

    i really like Beyonce movies, she look really stunning

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Dream girls is an awesome movie.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    @SusanDeppner: Glad you dropped by!

  • SusanDeppner profile image

    Susan Deppner 

    6 years ago from Arkansas USA

    Sounds like a movie (particularly the music) I'd really enjoy. Thanks for the great review!


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