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SPARKLE artwork


Type of media Film

Approved Running time 116m 3s

Release date 05/10/2012

BBFCInsight Contains implied hard drug use, moderate violence and language

Genre(s) Drama, Music

Director(s) Salim Akil

Cast includes Whitney Houston, Tika Sumpter, Carmen Ejogo, Jordin Sparks, Mike Epps

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 25/09/2012

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

SPARKLE is a drama set in 1968 Detroit about a talented young singer and songwriter who forms a group with her sisters. However, just as the group becomes successful, disaster strikes. The film was rated 12A for implied hard drug use, moderate violence and language.

One of the main characters starts to take cocaine with her husband and soon becomes addicted to it. In one scene, the husband tips some white powder onto a cigarette case and tells his wife that it will improve their lovemaking. They start kissing passionately, but without taking any drugs. Soon afterwards, we see the woman with her sisters, who comment on her black eye. She starts dabbing at some powder on a compact mirror, and one of her sister says "That's not what I think it is?". The woman then bends her head downwards and we hear a snorting sound, although we do not see her snorting cocaine on screen. This is followed by a brief shot of a small container of powder on the table. In a later scene, the woman has a bruise on her cheek. She demands to know where her 'face powder' is and one sister says that it should be flushed down the toilet. The compact is dropped and the contents are spilled before the woman has a chance to take any drugs. The implied hard drug use is not condoned by any of the other characters and the negative consequences are clearly shown. There is no instructional detail as the drug use takes place off screen, nor is the drug use glamorised as the woman's life spirals out of control.

There is a scene in which a man punches a woman and she falls to the ground, after which her sisters defend her by attacking the man. During the struggle one of the women hits the man on the back of the head with a poker, knocking him to the ground. She tries to revive him but the man has died, with no blood or injury detail seen. In another scene, seen from outside a house, a man chases a woman and hits her with a belt as she cowers. There are no sound effects or any clear sight of the belt hitting the woman but it clearly illustrates the fact the man is an abusive husband.

There is a use of both moderate and discriminatory language during Sunday lunch when a woman announces her engagement. This upsets her mother who tells her that she could have married a doctor or accountant instead. She says angrily "You want to whore with this coon?". The scene is emotionally intense and illustrates the poor relationship that the mother has with her daughters. However, there is no endorsement of discriminatory language or attitudes.

The film also contains various scenes of smoking, by two glamorous main characters, as well as by people in clubs and bars. These reflect the period in which the film is set. There is a brief scene of smoking in a club where it is not clear whether a joint or a cigarette is being smoked. There are also some uses of discriminatory terms, including 'sambo', 'coon' and 'Negro', but these are all used by black characters while referring to other black characters or to themselves. Again, these are terms that were more commonly used in the United States at the time.

There are some uses of mild and very mild language ('BS', 'shit', 'ass', 'damn', 'butt', 'God').

No-one younger than 12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. No-one younger than 12 may rent or buy a 12 rated video or DVD.


Sony Pictures Releasing
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Submitted run time
116m 3s
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