Release Date: August 13, 2021
Director: Liesl Tommy
Stars: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald
Plot: A glimpse at the life of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin
Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee
There is no doubt, nor argument, that Aretha Franklin is one of the best singers to ever live. She was born with amazing talent, raised in an environment that honed her skills, and was willing to do what it took to make it to the top of her profession.
Her life story is not an easy one. It is one filled with a lot of pain, strife, and sadness. She had much to overcome to become the success that she was.
Her story is truly amazing. And one that I wish this movie told in a better and more compelling way.
I'm not saying this is a bad movie. It has some powerful and emotional moments, but it feels like the script was washed clean of some of the dirt and grit that would have made it more interesting and compelling. There are major life events that are barely mentioned, then there are moments that play a minor role in her life that take up a lot of the film.
The running time for Respect is nearly 2 1/2 hours, and I would have been okay with that if it had been more emotional and told the whole story. With the story told as is, this should have been about 100 minutes tops.
The one great thing about this movie is Jennifer Hudson. She brings Aretha to life. Her portrayal is impeccable. Unfortunately, most of the characters around her are stiff, and two-dimensional, and don't do much other than to help move the story along.
I would love to see this movie redone without all of the polishing. It may not be nearly as flattering to the Queen of Soul, but it would be real, raw, and powerful.