Musical Actors
Review by Ross Anthony

The film opens with a blues lounge singer and eight-year-old daughter tearing up the small pub stage with an endearing duet. Not long after, however, this down Glitterand out single mother leaves her daughter at a local New York orphanage, never to return.

Flash forward to 1983, the little girl, Billie Frank (Carey), dances and sings her way into fame with the assistance and resistance of producer bo Duce (Beesley).

It's a love/fame story packaged in a mother daughter drama. Each of the three angles fight for the stage, not a one finding enough screen time for full development. Additionally, aside from the initial separation with mom (which occurs in the first 10 minutes, Billie's "ride" isn't terribly bumpy, weakening the power of an underdeveloped climax. Actually, it's Beesley's character that enjoys the kind of complications we'd expect of the lead.

Still, the film has star appeal -- shining, even glittering at times with strong performances by all. Mariah's acting prowess won't earn her any Oscars, but she does a perfectly fine job with this role and her voice is simply amazing. Beesley's a little heavy-handed with the NY accent, but handles his Duce Glittercharacter respectably as well. Furthermore, his true musical talents, like Carey's add to the sparkle of "Glitter." Similarly, Eric Benet performs marvelously in both modes: singer/actor.

Earlier on, interesting transitional special effects spice the picture, but unfortunately, disappear all together by mid-film.

Older audiences might raise tired eyebrows (this audience laughed out loud) at the love story clichés herein, but the target audience will no doubt weep along with the leads. In sum, though rickety in corners, Carey's amazing vocal talents melt away the awkward moments; I'd have given her much more stage time at the end. I think young girls and Mariah fans will love this picture.

As for the film being autobiographical, Carey states, "I have a wonderful and close relationship with my mother (an opera singer), I don't think she'd appreciate people saying that the film is based on my life. I can just imagine her saying, 'Excuse me, I don't remember giving you up!'" Carey laughs, "So, while there are some parallels between my life and Billie's, on many levels they couldn't be more different."

  • Glitter. Copyright © 2001. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Mariah Carey, Max Beesley, Da Brat, Tia Texada, Valari Pettiford, Ann Magnuson, Terrence Howard, Dorian Harewood, Grant Nickalls, Eric Benet.
  • Directed by Vondie Curtis Hall.
  • Written by Kate Lanier.
  • Produced by Laurence Mark at 20th Cent Fox/Columbia/Maroon.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:10:02 PDT