Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. 89
    Even when it feels packaged like a holiday entertainment that aims to please, watching Dreamgirls is like being on cloud nine.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Dreamgirls is one of the best movie musicals in memory.
  5. 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.
  6. 88
    This baby dazzles like nothing else anywhere.
  7. Bill Condon's screen adaptation of the 1981 Broadway sensation is, if possible, as dazzling and energizing as its source.
  8. 88
    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.
  9. 88
    Dreamgirls is good and at times it touches greatness.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. The film soars in the right places, especially when powerful newcomer Jennifer Hudson sings, and the charismatic supporting cast keeps it chugging forward.
  17. 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.
  18. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Ardent, accomplished, overwhelmingly emotional, with something to say and a dream cast saying it in song. Bravo.
  19. 50
    Dreamgirls is a better musical than "Chicago" or "Rent," but then, that isn't really saying much.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Dreamgirls is the rare movie musical with real rapture in it.
  23. 83
    The film is like a lot like Effie: It occasionally vexes or disappoints, but -- I am telling you -- it dazzles.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Dreamgirls is the entire musical package, a triumph of old school on-screen glamour, and we wouldn't want it any other way.
  27. 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?).
  28. 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.
  29. Reviewed by: Albert Williams
    Elegant, unabashedly theatrical, and packed with lush concert scenes and period-perfect costumes.
  30. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    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.
  31. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss/Richard Schickel
    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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  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. 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.
  36. 33
    It's the ultimate pop-culture sacrilege: a movie about soul music that has no soul.
  37. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 229 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 89 out of 124
  2. Negative: 18 out of 124
  1. Jun 2, 2013
    A very good film. A bit overrated in my opinion because 8 Academy Award nominations is very generous. However this film delivers on all levels. Great performances all around, drama, brilliant cinematography, fantastic's good. The music is definitely the highlight of the film for me though, particularly because of Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson. They both give great performances musically and theatrically. A very good film. Full Review »
  2. Sep 2, 2012
    This was a dazzling movie. I was seriously impressed with all the music and acting....that includes Beyonce. It was quite a spectacle and was very stylishly and artistically done. Full Review »
  3. May 15, 2012