As the story goes, three sisters band together - all with different dreams - to become Motown stars in 1960s Detroit.
Carmen Ejogo's character gets hooked on drugs instead - and a bad relationship. She provides the film's high drama, and she does it well.
Tika Sumpter offers the strength, and Sparks, as Sparkle, is the film's heart.
You can't go to this film and not feel impacted that you're watching Whitney Houston's final performance. Houston's role is a supporting one.
It's sad to watch her, knowing she's gone, but there's only so much to the role. I wouldn't buy into the hype that this is her best work.
Sparks is the real star here, and the men of the film, Derek Luke, Mike Epps and Omari Hardwick, make it better.
But in the end, I found myself feeling as if I'd seen parts of this movie in other movies. The elements of originality and surprise just aren't there. If you're OK with that, you'll be OK with "Sparkle."
Overall, I liked the performances more than I liked the movie. But I also think teenage girls and young women will connect with it more than a guy my age.