review by Drusilla Blakey
With the latest trend of biographies focusing on bands and musicians such as Straight Out of Compton, Bohemian Rhapsody, All Eyez On Me and Rocketman I was eagerly awaiting to see who would be next. The latest takes on the iconic Aretha Franklin with the film Respect starring Jennifer Hudson who was hand-picked by Franklin before her passing for the title role with TV director Liesl Tommy making her feature debut.
Respect follows the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, Respect is the remarkable true story of Franklin’s journey to find her voice.
As a singer and fan of music in general, I have been a fan of Aretha Franklin's music for some time. So I was very much looking forward to this movie about her life. However, what I walked away with was an amazingly deep understanding of a real person, not just a voice on the radio.
Aretha is beautifully portrayed by Jennifer Hudson. Coming up in the church was something I related with in Aretha’s life. This is where she received her singing and musical education. I’m this place of worship we see how involved Aretha and her father were in the movement for equality. She was a contemporary of Martin Luther King and would often sing at his rallies.
This story also takes several unexpected and very sad turns. Many devastating things happen throughout her life but in the end we see how hard she works to triumph over these adversities.
In addition to Jennifer Hudson, we have some amazing performances from Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, and Marc Maron. Another thing that cannot be overlooked is the stunning costumes, wigs, makeup and sets. You are really transported back in time.
I believe anyone who is a fan of Aretha’s music or stories of strong women overcoming diversity will want to check this out. Come be inspired!