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Respect

  • Drama
  • Music
  • 2020
  • Liesl Tommy
  • 145 mins
  • 12A

Summary

Following 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 the music icon's journey to find her voice.

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Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

Jennifer Hudson was Aretha Franklin's own choice to play her in this biopic of the soul legend's rise to fame. While she sparkles in the elaborately staged musical numbers, the dramatic telling of the singer's personal and professional struggles is sadly wrought with clichés. Conflicts with Franklin's puritanical preacher father (Forest Whitaker) and her controlling husband and manager (Marlon Wayans) are recounted with a frustrating lack of depth or detail, with neither actors' portrayals rising much above by-the-book cartoon villainy. The chronicles of alcoholism, racial prejudice and abuse (both in Aretha's childhood and her marriage) should be where the film digs deep to reveal its subject's personality. But in her feature debut, theatre director Liesl Tommy fares best when bringing the music to life. Hudson's recreation of Franklin's extraordinary vocal talent is truly impressive, not least in the concert sequences and scenes where she assembles the building blocks of hits like the title song and I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You). It's just a shame that the rest of the film doesn't reach those same heady heights.

Credits

Cast

rolename
Aretha FranklinJennifer Hudson
CL FranklinForest Whitaker
Ted WhiteMarlon Wayans
Barbara FranklinAudra McDonald
Dinah WashingtonMary J Blige
Jerry WexlerMarc Maron
Reverend Dr James ClevelandTituss Burgess
John HammondTate Donovan

Crew

rolename
DirectorLiesl Tommy

Details

Theatrical distributor
Universal
Released on
2021-09-10
Languages
English | Korean
Formats
Colour
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