Based on the 1970's film of the same name, this is the story about three sisters who form a girl group and their experiences as it becomes popular. The lead character is Sparkle (played by Jordin Sparks). Whitney Houston plays Sparkle's mother Emma. This was Whitney Houston's last film role before she died.
Sparkle has a talent for writing songs, but she is afraid to sing them in public because her mother, who is a strong-willed church-going woman, forbids it. Her mother tried to have a singing career and went through a lot of troubles, only to end up with nothing, so she does not want her daughters to go through the same things she did. Sparkle gets her sister, who is named Sister (played by Carmen Ejogo) to sing one of her songs in a nightclub. The audience reaction is very positive. A young man Stix (played by Derek Luke) sees the performance and is attracted to Sparkle.
Sparkle and Sister do not come back to the club, but Stix tracks them down by going to all of the churches until he finds them. He joins the bible study group held at Sparkle's house by her mother to get to know Sparkle. He offers to be their manager if all three sisters will sing together as a group. They agree. They form the group and practice. The first debut performance looks like it will bomb at first, with the audience heckling them in the opening bars of the first song, until Sister begins to sing. She knocks them out. The band is great. Sister dumps the poor guy named Levi (played by Omari Hardwick) who truly loves her to go with a wealthy guy, a comedian that is already famous and making money named Satin (played by Mike Epps). Satin gets Sister hooked on drugs and beats her.
They get better gigs and become popular, all the time sneaking out of the house to keep their mom from knowing. They get a gig on television. Before the gig, Sister arrives with a black eye from Satin. She covers it with makeup and still performs exceptionally well. A record executive wants to sign them to a recording contract. He agrees to seal the deal if they will meet the next week in his office during the daytime. All agree.
At the record label, on the day of the meeting, Stix is there, Sparkle arrives, but the other two sisters are late. They are actually there, but hiding in the janitor's closet because Sister is all beat up again and needs a cocaine fix before she goes to the meeting. Sister is in terrible condition. They try to get Sister in shape, but the record exec discovers where they are hiding, sees the condition of Sister, and calls the deal off on the spot.
Sparkle and her other sister Clora (played by Linda Boston) take Sister home to Sister's house. They beg Sister to come away with them. Satin comes home. He goes into a rage when he sees the women are conspiring against him. He attacks Sister, throws her down. He fights off Sparkle, throws her down and is going kill her, so Clara hits him in the back of the head with a fireplace poker, killing him instantly. Sister tells her other two sisters to get out of there. Sister takes the rap for the killing of Satin, claims self-defense but is sent to prison for it. Stix and Sparkle break up over this. Stix moves to Los Angeles. Clora gets accepted in medical school making her mother proud. The band is dead.
Sparkle decides to go to Los Angeles to convince the record executive that she is the one with the talent for both song composition and singing. the record exec likes her bravado. He agrees to come to her performance. Sparkle gets back together with Stix because she loves him and needs help setting up the show. The show is a big success. Even Sparkle's mom shows up to see it, which is a surprise. The song Sparkle wrote, dedicated to Sister, gets a standing ovation.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is a bit sad knowing this was Whitney Houston's last appearance in a film because Whitney's real life with Bobby Brown must have been quite like Sister's life in this film.
Best scene in story:
The best scene is when Sparkle has the nerve and courage to wait all day to see the record executive and gets two minutes to make her pitch, which wows him. She is great at expressing herself.
Opinion about the main character:
What is great about her is her modesty and she does not want to hurt her mother, but she also has such strong talent she needs to be able to express it. It is nice to see she finds a way to do all that.