Follow TV Tropes


Film / Glitter

Go To

Glitter is a 2001 musical drama film directed by Vondie Curtis Hall and starring Mariah Carey.

The film centers around Billie Frank (Carey), a young woman who, after being raised in a foster home with her two best friends after her alcoholic mother leaves her, seeks to become one of the biggest musicians during the 1980's with some help from a local disc jockey named Dice (Max Beesley) after he sees her as a backup vocalist for another singer in the recording booth. Billie becomes famous instantly and she and Dice hook up, but the pressure of her newfound celebrity begins to put a strain on their relationship, which forces Billie to decide what she wants from Dice, and what she wants for herself. The plot is basically a remake of A Star Is Born (1937), which had previously been remade in 1954 with Judy Garland and 1976 with Barbra Streisand, and would again be remade in 2018 with Lady Gaga.

Tropes seen in the film:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Billie for Dice.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Billie is seen like this In-Universe. Lampshaded by her new friends when they introduce themselves to her at the orphanage.
    Young Roxanne: You Puerto Rican?
    Young Billie: I'm mixed.
    Young Louise: [gesturing to Roxanne] Roxy's Puerto Rican.
    Young Roxanne: I'm Latin.note 
    • Her music video director for the song "Loverboy" originally wanted to present Billie in such a way that it would make her ethnically mysterious to audiences.
    Video director: We have to ask ourselves: "Is she white? Is she black? We don't know. She's exotic."
  • Anachronism Stew: Despite taking place in The '80s, there are very little elements that actually place it in said decade, either due to indifference from the production crew or believing that Viewers Are Morons. This is especially true regarding Carey's wardrobe.
  • Artistic License Biology: As Todd in the Shadows and Musical Hell pointed out in their respective reviews of the film, Billie's childhood cat should have died of old age by the time the film should be taking place.
  • Artistic License History: As mentioned above, none of Carey's outfits looked like they're from the 80s and characters are seen with modern cell phones.
  • Berserk Button: For Billie, it's anyone who mentions her mother. For Dice, it's toward anyone who threatens Billie as Timothy finds out.
  • Big Bad: Timothy Walker.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Billie and her mother reunite at the end of the film, giving each other their long-ago signature hand hold and tearfully embracing.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Dice ends up dead, but not before finding Billie's long-lost and now-sober mother, who she reunites with at the end of the movie.
  • Blatant Lies: Dice insisting that his date with Billie is most definitely not a date.
    Billie: You gave me a rose, you pick me up in a limo, you're wearing cologne, so I was just this a date?
    Dice: Whoa — no. If it were a date (places a napkin on Billie's lap) you would've known.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: During a heated argument, Billie claims that she built up her fame by herself, while Dice claims that he was the reason she became famous. Without Dice's prodding, Billie would've been content in remaining as a mere background singer; likewise, since Dice and Billie are a practically a package deal within the music industry, any trouble Dice causes would also reflect poorly on Billie.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy; Dice is jealous of any man who gives Billie the slightest of attention, even if their relationship is strictly professional.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Billie has this — Her alcoholic mother, whom she was close to, had to give her up due to said alcoholism (and for almost setting their apartment on fire), her father abandoned her and wanted nothing to do with her and she is sent to live in an orphanage as a child.
  • Didn't Think This Through: While Lillian getting fired from her singing job is regrettable, it was kind of expected, considering she got drunk onstage, toppled by the fact that she pressured her very underage daughter to perform a very mature adult song.
  • Extreme Doormat: Downplayed; at first, Billie passively accepts the darker side of her rising fame, specifically sexual harassment on set (such as the music video director ordering the male backup dancers to force themselves on her just to create sex appeal). However, she will not take more shit than necessary, like Dice making scalding remarks toward her long lost mother, resulting in Billie slapping him and breaking up with him.
  • Five-Token Band: Timothy's singing group before Dice took the girls.
    • Timothy: African-American male
    • Sylk: East Indian female
    • Billie: African-American/Caucasian female
    • Louise: African-American female
    • Roxanne: Latina female
  • Gender-Blender Name: Billie is a predominantly male name, but can also be a given name for a girl.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: "It's not a date!"
  • Heroic BSoD: Billie undergoes one when she finds out about Dice's death on the news.
  • Hope Spot: A hope spot within a hope spot. After Dice and Billie take time to cool down after their breakup, he buys a ticket to go see her perform at Madison Square Garden, looking as though they are about to reconcile. Dice leaves his apartment that night, where he is called out to by Timothy (who he had just beat up a few nights ago). Timothy extends his arm to Dice in an almost brotherly-like fashion, beckoning him to come closer. Then Timothy pulls out a handgun at Dice's chest, and a gunshot is heard just as the screen turns black.
  • Jerkass: Billie's father who grudgingly gives Lillian money to help support their daughter, then demanding that they never show up at his house ever again.
  • Karma Houdini: Timothy Walker seemingly gets away with killing Dice. The news broadcaster claims that there are no suspects yet, so it will be a while before anyone thinks about pointing fingers at Timothy (not that anybody would want to risk a trip to the morgue in doing so.)
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Billie is a nice girl who has a cat named Whisper, who has a questionably long lifespan (see Artistic License Biology above). Since Whisper was around when Billie was still living with her mother, it can be assumed that Lillian was also this.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname:
    • Julian "Dice" Black almost exclusively goes by his nickname.
    • Played straight with Sylk as we never learn her real name.
  • Lady Drunk: Lillian Frank. She gets better, though.
  • Malicious Misnaming: At the awards after-party when Billie and Dice meet a random director, he not even ten seconds after being introduced to the latter calls him "Deuce".note 
  • Meaningful Name: Julian Black apparently gets his nickname "Dice" and "Lucky 7" for reasons that are left unstated in the film. It becomes more of an Informed Attribute when we quickly see him get anything but lucky, and everything working out so badly for him that he winds up dead.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: We first see Billie and her friends as pre-teens, albeit briefly.
  • Mommy Had A Good Reason For Abandoning You: Billie's mother, Lillian, had to give Billie up for adoption in order to get sober. They eventually reunite at the end of the film.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Rafael, who is played by Halle Berry's then-husband, Eric Benet. Billie's back-up dancers in the Loverboy video shoot also count.
  • On One Condition: Timothy agrees to let Dice have the rights to Billie's contract on the condition that he pay him $100 000. Dice continuously delaying on this payment results in him having Timothy on his back on various points in the film. In the end, Timothy settles for killing him instead.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Max Beesley's British accent slips out at various points in the film.
  • Parental Issues: Tells Dice about her trust issues relating to her mother's abandonment of her. She later confides with him the happier days she used to have with her.
  • Present-Day Past: The characters all wear early 2000s fashion and use clamshell-style cell phones.
  • Pretty in Mink: Billie at the USA Music Awards show is in pink mink mini-dress.
  • Race Fetish: Kurt, the video producer for "Loverboy", has a strange obsession for Billie being mixed race. Dice (who's foaming at the mouth at this point), understandably finds this creepy.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Timothy gets increasingly agitated at not seeing a penny of the $100 000 that Dice owes him, and resorts to threatening Billie with physical violence if he doesn't pay up.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Played straight with Louise in all her glory. Subverted with Billie, who's too passive to be considered sassy, though some is present in her songs ("Didn't Mean to Turn You On" is full of it).
  • Satellite Character: Louise and Roxanne are Billie's closest friends and backup singers, but other than their respective personalities have little more in the way of character development.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Behind a blurred window, a topless Dice is seen slowly undressing Billie. The two embrace, collapsing onto the bed after which the camera cuts to black.
  • She Is All Grown Up: We see Billie go from a child in the Seventies to a beautiful young woman circa 1983.
  • Sorrowful Stutter: After learning of Dice's murder, Billie addresses the crowd of her sold-out concert before starting it, stating, "Hey, all you people out there, don't ever take anyone for granted..." She then briefly pauses in an attempt to stop herself from crying and continues, "...because you never know when you might lose 'em, and you'll never be able to tell 'em how you truly felt."
  • The '80s: Ostensibly; a title states that it takes place circa 1983, but aside from a few references, it's hardly noticeable.
  • '80s Hair: Immediately after the Time Skip in the beginning we see adult Billie sporting this and a typical dancer's outfit from the 80s. Note that this is the only time during the film that her outfit matches with the decade portrayed. See Anachronism Stew above.
  • The '70s: Briefly.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Dice, who becomes increasingly embittered, rude and envious as the movie goes on.
  • Token Trio: Billie and her friends:
    • Billie: mixed African-American/Caucasian female
    • Roxanne: Latina female
    • Louise: African-American female
  • True Companions: Billie, Louise and Roxanne are so close, it's easier to identify them as her sisters rather than her friends.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The film mostly takes place in 1983, which was not even 20 years ago at the time of its release.
  • Two First Names: "Billie" (a Gender-Blender Name) and "Frank" are both common first names.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • What Timothy plans to do to Billie if Dice doesn't pay off his debt to him.
    • After Billie slaps Dice across the face for insulting her mother, he lunges toward her menacingly, eventually stopping himself short from getting violent with her.