Chicago Sun-Times - 06/16/2012 3 stars out of 4 -- "SPARKLE is a full-bodied musical melodrama that acquires a melancholy undertone because it features the last performance by Whitney Houston. She exhibits a serene middle-age beauty here..."
Box Office - 08/17/2012 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his one makes for a emotional time in the theater....SPARKLE exists as an artifact and beacon, a memorial to and about Whitney Houston."
USA Today - 08/17/2012
"[SPARKLE is] a fitting curtain call for Houston. Her character's ultimate willingness to acknowledge her daughter's dreams and encourage the musical aspirations of the next generation is a lovely final tribute."
Hollywood Reporter - 08/16/2012
"[T]he interplay among the characters pulsates and the dramatic confrontations are sufficiently charged..."
Entertainment Weekly - 08/31/2012
"Whitney Houston, in her final performance, plays the church-lady mother with teasing force."
Sight and Sound - 11/01/2012
"[T]he music is terrific, handily trumping DREAMGIRLS with a mix of Curtis Mayfield tunes from the original and creditable R. Kelly Motown pastiches."
A talented young woman is torn between her dreams and her family in this musical. Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) has been blessed with a beautiful voice and a gift for songwriting, but she's afraid to perform her songs in public, in part because her mother Emma (Whitney Houston), a former entertainer whose career brought her nothing but heartache, refuses to allow her daughters to sing outside of church. But Sparkle persuades her older sibling Sister (Carmen Ejogo) to sing one of her tunes at a talent show, and the reaction proves that Sister has star quality and Sparkle can write potential hits. An ambitious would-be manager, Stix (Derek Luke), persuades Sparkle and Sister to form a singing group with their sibling Dolores (Tika Sumpter), but while the act clicks wit audiences, the sisters have to contend with their angry mother, Sister gets caught up in a destructive relationship with a short-tempered comedian (Mike Epps), and Sparkle finds herself falling in love with Stix. Based on the 1976 musical of the same name, SPARKLE proved to be the last major project for Whitney Houston, who died while the film was in post-production; it was also the first feature film for AMERICAN IDOL champion Sparks.