Metascore
54

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Kevin C. Johnson
    Aug 17, 2012
    88
    Energetic, colorful and packed with strong performances and musical numbers good enough to get by, Sparkle beams brightly.
  2. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Aug 18, 2012
    80
    Sister is the one you remember; like the film, she's mesmerizing because of her flaws as well as her charms.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    Sparkle isn't blindingly original but it delivers solid entertainment, and despite the clichés I was never for a moment bored.
  4. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    Sparks' strengths include not just a powerful voice but also a radiant niceness, and that becomes part of the story.
  5. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    Sparkle is a solid entertainment with a winning debut by Jordin Sparks in the title role.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    Most of the stuff that's new in the new Sparkle, written by Mara Brock Akil (who is married to the director), is shrewd and cleverly considered. The stuff that's old is what people responded to back in '76.
  7. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Aug 16, 2012
    70
    The look, styles, dialogue and attitudes all feel more 21st century than 1968, but this new Sparkle still sparkles more brightly than its 1976 namesake, which was a sort of rough draft for Dreamgirls.
  8. Reviewed by: Randy Cordova
    Aug 16, 2012
    70
    Sparkle is pure melodrama, but it's a high-powered, well-acted, entertaining melodrama. You may not always believe it, but you won't be bored.
  9. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Aug 16, 2012
    67
    Sparkle may wind up as Ejogo's breakthrough but will forever be remembered as Houston's swan song, and a glimpse of what her next life chapter might have been. What a talent. What a waste.
  10. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Aug 16, 2012
    67
    Sparkle is never more than an overheated mediocrity. The one thing it isn't, however, is dull.
  11. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Aug 16, 2012
    63
    While Sparkle doesn't give the audience a lasting memory of Houston's voice at its most soaring, it does manage to provide a lingering sense of loss, mixed with celebration and grim irony.
  12. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 16, 2012
    63
    Shines brightest during its musical numbers.
  13. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Aug 16, 2012
    63
    It's a better movie than what's inspired it, but that fails to explain much. It's like preferring the line at the concession stand to the one for the bathroom.
  14. 60
    The shadow of Whitney Houston's stardom and crushing recent death hang heavy over this midrange movie that promises its female audience at least three good cries during its somewhat overlong run time.
  15. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Aug 16, 2012
    60
    Sparkle, while occasionally silly in a way that made a preview audience titter, is decent entertainment.
  16. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Aug 16, 2012
    60
    A strong cast, empathetic direction and memorable soundtrack help create a movie that does everyone proud.
  17. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Aug 22, 2012
    50
    Sparks, an acting novice, falters when her character must muster gumption or sexual heat. She saves her best for last in a barnburner singing performance, but it's too little, too late – especially with the memory of Houston's one song – a heart-stopping gospel number – still ringing in the ears.
  18. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Aug 18, 2012
    50
    These numbers, frankly, display a professionalism and confidence that most of the rest of the movie can't match. And yes, that's the bad news.
  19. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Aug 18, 2012
    50
    The only time Sparkle evidences energy is during the song performances, of which there are too few. The half-baked melodrama provides an unappealing and overlong buffer between them that fails to justify the nearly two-hour running time.
  20. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Aug 17, 2012
    50
    For a movie called Sparkle, the absolutely least interesting or central thing about it is Sparkle (and Sparks), although the "Idol" singer does bust out one impressive performance.
  21. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    The film spends so little time developing its characters, apart from all that expository dialogue, that it's like asking audiences to care for paper dolls. And Sparkle never delivers on the promise of its most famous song by giving viewers something they can feel.
  22. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    In many ways Sparkle is a bumpy ride. The editing is haphazard, the cinematography too dark, and there are holes in the story. If the new songs on the soundtrack are effective Motown pastiches, most of them pale beside their prototypes. But diluted Motown is better than none.
  23. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    The forebear's underwritten melodrama has been supplanted by Tyler Perry–like soap operatics and much jawing about the Lord, riots in the Motor City, marriage proposals, and maternal heartbreak and disapproval.
  24. Reviewed by: Andrew Barker
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    Sparkle deals in such well-worn rise-and-fall music-bio tropes that it's hard to blame it for simply coasting on narrative shorthand at times. But the lackadaisical storytelling can inch toward outright laziness.
  25. Reviewed by: Eric Henderson
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    Whitney Houston's death is just about the only thing that gives the film real, albeit mostly unintentional, life.
  26. Reviewed by: Ken McIntyre
    Oct 1, 2012
    40
    Sparkle isn't "Dreamgirls" – but fans of schmaltzy showbiz fairytales should enjoy it.
  27. Reviewed by: Courtney Shea
    Aug 16, 2012
    38
    Anyone who has seen "Dream Girls," "What's Love Got To Do With It?" or even "The Doors" will find themselves in familiar (if inferior) territory here.
  28. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 16, 2012
    25
    Whitney Houston deserved better than to go out onscreen with this botch job remake of a 1976 soap opera that never deserved another thought.
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 3 out of 8
  1. Aug 19, 2012
    9
    What a great movie!! I loved the story!! Always step out on faith was basically the theme and the director was really good he caught all the drama!!Whitney was great in her role..i was floored when she sung "His Eyes Is On The Sparrow" absolutely a tear jerking tour DE force!!!!!! bt Mike Epps & sister were impeccable in this film both deserve Oscar nominations Full Review »
  2. Sep 9, 2012
    6
    The movie was totally different from the Original, which in my opinion was not as good as the 1st film Sparkle. Carmen Ejogo would've been a great "Sista", if the writing of the script was as good as the original. Jordin Sparks was not believable as Sparkle, I felt as though I was watching Jordin trying to act as oppose to believing she was Sparkle. I really wish that the creators would've did better justice to the remake of this film. It is a classic and one of my favorites. I wasn't moved by the remake as I was with the original version. The costumes during there performances, was off. Whitney Houston's portrayal as the mother was totally different from the mother's character in the original. These were two totally different movies. I actually went to youtube and watched the original and it moved me to tears, unlike the remake. I really would like to see someone re-do this film again, and give it justice. Not a good re-make of this timeless piece. It needs to be redone, stick to the original mold and upgrade. I felt as though I was watching a Disney special, as oppose to a Raw film like the Original Sparkle. Full Review »
  3. Aug 23, 2012
    0
    It is a sad attempt at something that could have been so much. The original film was a darker, deeper story, this seems like a Disney made version that lacks so much to the story. Jordin Sparks is not meant to act, a good singer she is, her acting ability is not up to par with what it should have been. Too bad as well, I was looking forward to something great. Full Review »