This week, we’re going back to the 1960s with “Dreamgirls” (2006). In short, it is the story of a trio (based on The Supremes) and the pushy music producer who takes them under his wing and the relationships they all form. The number of formerly and currently famous people in this movie is off the charts. Not only do we have Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé, but we also see John Krasinski, John Lithgow and Danny Glover.
Allie Morgenstern (AM): Anna and I both really wanted to watch without even discussing with each other first. We are in sync, clearly. I used to watch this movie regularly with my mom, although I’m starting to realize how much went over my head as a child.
Anna Hirshman (AH): Yes, definitely. This is one of those movies for which my perspective on it has changed a lot as I’ve gotten older. I used to just think it was fun and great music, but now I have a better understanding of the racial and misogynistic undertones throughout the stories.
AM: I remember my mom used to cover my eyes when Eddie Murphy’s character was about to do drugs, and I also always used to get so embarrassed when his character would go crazy and strip on stage. It seems like the theme of this column is my second-hand embarrassment.
AH: I do take some issues with parts of the film. Everyone needs to stop speaking in the third person and saying “baby” at the end of every sentence. I just do not buy that’s how people spoke in the 1960s and 70s. Also, the costumes. They wear orange on multiple occasions. Orange is not their color. Orange is not anyone’s color. And the name of the group keeps changing. What happened to consistency to maintain brand loyalty? Despite all that, the music is unreal in this movie. Every song is something you can either dance ferociously to or cry to. The two versions of “One Night Only” exemplify this phenomenon.
AM: This is one of the musicals that I knew all the words to and forced my mom to listen to in the car. But now, I think I’ve come to fully appreciate the pure greatness of Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson. Let’s all take a moment of silence for Hudson’s incredible talent in “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” Pure Oscar gold right there.
AH: Her acting is incredible, too. I respect that Effie (played by Hudson) knows her worth throughout the entire movie. She doesn’t always have the best attitude, but she knows she’s the most talented person to ever walk the planet. But after “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” I am just waiting for “Listen.” It is my favorite Beyoncé song and it is not even a Beyoncé song.
AM: We also talked about loving that the story ends with sibling love bringing everyone together instead of romantic love. They really are a family.
AH: You informed me at the beginning of the movie that you would cry at the end, and you did not disappoint. I appreciate your self-awareness.
AM: *Cries* It’s just so. Happy. Effie’s daughter is so proud of her mom, and all the Dreams are back together, and they’re in beautiful mermaid dresses, and it’s all just so good.