Review | ‘Respect’ brings Aretha Franklin’s life to the big screen

Respect | Dir: Liesl Tommy | In Cinemas Now| ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Her story is brought to the cinema screen in the new bio-pic Respect which sees Jennifer Hudson deliver an impressive performance, both with acting and music, in the leading role.

The challenge with this film is that Franklin lead just one life, and if your already familiar with the details of her family life, career trajectory and personal demons – then this might be a bit of a snooze-fest.

With documentaries about her life, and the TV mini-series Genius Aretha Franklin recently on screens, you may have already heard this story.

There’s a star studded cast, Forrest Whittaker plays her father Reverend Clarence Franklin, while Audra MacDonald portrays her estranged mother. Marlon Wayans takes on the role of Franklin’s abusive first husband, and Mary J Blige plays singer Dinah Washington.

Capturing a person’s entire life on film is always challenging, this film takes in Franklin’s early life, early unsuccessful recording career, and breakthrough as a soul singer. The journey ends with the recording of Franklin’s 1972 live album Amazing Grace, which gives the film some of it’s most captivating scenes.

Franklin’s later career which saw her riding on the freeway of love, teaming up with the Eurythmics to declare that sister’s are doing for themselves, or delivering the ultimate queer party jam with Pride (A Deeper Love), is not part of the story.

Jennifer Hudson is sensational is lead role, she deserves all the awards that come her way.

Graeme Watson


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