Rated 4.0

The 1981 Broadway musical about the rise of a fictitious African-American girl group (think Supremes) and their big-thinking manager (think Berry Gordy Jr.) comes at last to the screen in a glitzy, dazzlingly confident adaptation by writer-director Bill Condon, and it’s well worth the wait. Top-billed are Jamie Foxx as the manager, Beyoncé Knowles as the glamorous lead singer of the group, and Eddie Murphy as a soul-singing superstar. They’re all first-rate, but the picture belongs lock-stock-and-barrel to newcomer Jennifer Hudson as the group’s cast-off lead, in one of the most electrifying debuts in movie history (her rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” would raise gooseflesh on a statue). The role won Jennifer Holliday a Tony on Broadway, and it damn well better win Hudson an Oscar.