Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    The movie belongs to Hudson as the proud, self-destructive Effie. When she's center stage, Dreamgirls transports you to movie musical heaven.
  2. Hudson, taking over the role of Effie played on stage by Jennifer Holliday, is in charge of Dreamgirls from her opening scene, blowing away Grammy-winner Beyoncé Knowles, Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx and anyone else who gets in her way.
  3. 100
    The sigh you will hear across the country in the next few weeks is the sound of a gratified audience: a great movie musical has been made at last.
  4. Dreamgirls is one of the best movie musicals in memory.
  5. 100
    The ovation that Hudson wins from the movie's audience is one of those miraculous moments when a performer's artistry breaks through the screen and makes you feel part of a live audience. I haven't experienced anything like it since Barbra Streisand sang "My Man" at the end of her astonishing debut in Funny Girl.
  6. Though it seems long and its pace occasionally lags, it certainly struck me as a well-mounted, gloriously eye-filling and often exhilarating entertainment that brings back some of the delicious excitement of the great movie musicals.
  7. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Finally. After "The Phantom of the Opera," "Rent" and "The Producers" botched the transfer from stage to screen, Dreamgirls gets it right. Bill Condon's adaptation of the 1981 show about a Motown trio's climb to crossover stardom pulls off the fundamental double-act those three musical pics all missed: It stays true to the source material while standing on its own as a fully reimagined movie.
  8. Dreamgirls is the entire musical package, a triumph of old school on-screen glamour, and we wouldn't want it any other way.
  9. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    For all its flaws, Dreamgirls is what this holiday season needs. It's a big, fat, luscious movie in which no one is tortured, murdered, or mutilated (honestly, how many recent films can you say that about?).
  10. Elegant, unabashedly theatrical, and packed with lush concert scenes and period-perfect costumes.
  11. 89
    Even when it feels packaged like a holiday entertainment that aims to please, watching Dreamgirls is like being on cloud nine.
  12. 88
    This baby dazzles like nothing else anywhere.
  13. 88
    Dreamgirls is good and at times it touches greatness.
  14. Murphy is a revelation as James, and what American Idol castoff Hudson lacks in technical acting craft she makes up for in raw energy and a voice that could melt the rhinestones off a beauty queen. To complain that Beyonce pales by comparison is to fault her for nailing the essence of the infinitely malleable Deena.
  15. Bill Condon's screen adaptation of the 1981 Broadway sensation is, if possible, as dazzling and energizing as its source.
  16. Reviewed by: Stephen Saito
    The reason to see Dreamgirls is what hasn't been advertised - a film that in spite of its shiny veneer actually hits all the high notes through its underlying rawness.
  17. Dreamgirls is the rare movie musical with real rapture in it.
  18. 83
    The film is like a lot like Effie: It occasionally vexes or disappoints, but -- I am telling you -- it dazzles.
  19. If there is a disappointment, it is this: The anticipation may have exceeded the realization. It's a damn good commercial movie, but it is not the film that will revive the musical or win over the world.
  20. It's great to see a movie musical with a smart sense of the genre. All Dreamgirls lacks is the amazing energy and passion of the original.
  21. 80
    Condon grasps what has eluded most of his contemporaries: Anyone can give us the old razzle-dazzle, but what makes a movie musical soar is nothing more or less than the quiet exhilaration of two individuals on the screen, enraptured by song.
  22. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Ardent, accomplished, overwhelmingly emotional, with something to say and a dream cast saying it in song. Bravo.
  23. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jennifer Hudson is the heart and soul of Dreamgirls. When she's on the screen, the movie shines. When she's not, the whole endeavor suffers.
  24. 75
    Dreamgirls may be good enough to win the Oscar for Best Picture - great costumes, sets and choreography help - but despite stellar work by erstwhile "American Idol" contestant Hudson and Murphy, it's far from a great picture.
  25. Indeed, without Hudson's magic, without that extra feeling that comes from seeing the launch of something extraordinary, Dreamgirls might have been a break-even affair. The film has strong roles, good actors and a compelling story that takes place over the course of 10 or 15 years. But it has, with only a couple of exceptions, a pedestrian score that sounds like generic show-music schlock and lyrics that are not distinctive.
  26. Dreamgirls is performed, shot, edited and packaged like a coming-attractions trailer for itself. Ordinarily that would be enough to sink a film straight off, unless you're a fan of "Moulin Rouge." But this one's a good time.
  27. Without Hudson, Dreamgirls would be a whole lot less exciting. Knowles, the ostensible star, is rather bland, and Foxx, surprisingly, seems miscast. Murphy is wonderful, but that should be no surprise.
  28. The film soars in the right places, especially when powerful newcomer Jennifer Hudson sings, and the charismatic supporting cast keeps it chugging forward.
  29. 75
    This glitzy, infectious and unusually heartfelt musical doesn't always hang together as a satisfying narrative -- too many characters compete for too little screen time -- but its pleasures are numerous enough to override its flaws.
  30. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    She's (Jennifer Hudson) the best part of the show by far, but the writer-director Bill Condon, who wrote the screenplay for "Chicago" four years ago, has done the original "Dreamgirls" proud without solving its dramatic problems.
  31. 60
    The problem with “Dreamgirls” -- and it is not a small one -- lies in those songs, which are not just musically and lyrically pedestrian, but historically and idiomatically disastrous.
  32. I know I'm going to bring down the room by saying I think it's just okay. Well, Jennifer Hudson is more than okay.
  33. 50
    It's taken Dreamgirls 25 years and several false starts to get to the screen, so it's a shame to see what a rush job it feels like.
  34. 50
    Even with Hudson's triumphant arrival and an overall fizzy mood of singing, dancing, pop nostalgia and camp, Dreamgirls is an uneven crowd pleaser.
  35. 50
    Dreamgirls is a better musical than "Chicago" or "Rent," but then, that isn't really saying much.
  36. 40
    There's so little love to be found in Dreamgirls. It's a product that promises magic, and yet gives us nothing to live on.
  37. 33
    It's the ultimate pop-culture sacrilege: a movie about soul music that has no soul.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 250 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 84 out of 129
  2. Negative: 19 out of 129
  1. Redlight
    Jun 5, 2007
    I really loved it, even though it has sugarcoated what actually happened in real life and has an uber-happy ending that didn't occur inI really loved it, even though it has sugarcoated what actually happened in real life and has an uber-happy ending that didn't occur in real life. In real life, Florence Ballard (who Effie White (Jennifer Hudson) represents) spent her last years living in poverty before she died of coronary thrombosis. also before the supremes achieved mega stardom, she was raped at knifepoint by a friend of her brother's. Tragic. Apparently, Diana Ross (who Deena Jones (Beyonce) obviously represents) offered her help financially but I don't know if there's anything concrete to suggest that being true. Full Review »
  2. ChipL.
    Jan 17, 2007
    Watered down and middle of the road, with only Jennifer Hudson showing any true connection with the audience.
  3. KerryD.
    Jan 16, 2007
    As a lover of soul and R&B for 40 years, this movie was a souless, pointless, gutless cliche from start to finish. How is it possible to have As a lover of soul and R&B for 40 years, this movie was a souless, pointless, gutless cliche from start to finish. How is it possible to have a musical without ONE GOOD SONG? I was ashamed for every actor in this piece of dreck. Save your money and go out and buy Smokey Robinson and the Miracles greatest hits Full Review »