Watching Dreamgirls -- about which, of course, more later -- found myself watching Beyoncé more than I would normally watch the biggest-money star in a huge Oscar contender. And let's not kid ourselves: She is. I mean, Eddie may have been top of the world back in the day, and Jamie may have the Oscar, but if you did a person-in-the-street poll to name the star of Dreamgirls, I think you'd get back 'Beyoncé' - and, of course, the fact that people call you by one name is another good indicator of big-money starpower, too. And I think that, watching Ms. Knowles, I've realized what it is about her, and why movie stardom (as a subset of super-superstardom) may elude her. It's sort of this weird incorporeal attribute she possesses -- without the gleaming bright light of the spotlight on her, she doesn't exist. I mean, she does, of course, but just humor me and imagine the following things in secession: 1) Beyoncé winning a Grammy. 2) Beyoncé winning an Oscar. 3) Beyoncê enjoying a cold drink and playing some Nintendo Wii with Jay-Z. I'm serious in suggesting it's the last one that throws me -- and that may ultimately be a good thing for her Dreamgirls role as Deena Jones (inspired by, of course, Diana Ross), also a public persona who seems a bit lost without the public. And I don't think I'm confusing the player with the role -- Ms. Knowles didn't exactly ignite the screen in Austin Powers: Goldmember, either. (Although, God, who did?) Dreamgirls is, in many ways, a musical about people who don't know how to live when they're not singing, and looking at Beyoncé -- up there, larger than life and that way to begin with -- you get a glimpse of how that must feel.

J.
categories Features, Cinematical