“Respect” is an inspirational movie about the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who was an icon and music legend, who also had a difficult road to fame.
The story follows Ms. Franklin’s life as a girl performing in her father’s church choir in Detroit to her first record deal with Columbia Records in New York City. When the “hits” are not forthcoming in her early years, her life takes a turn that is both exhilarating but tumultuous as she searches for her voice in soul.
While every good biopic follows a similar arc of humble beginnings and hard times, “Respect” has several key elements that cause it stand out from the pack. It’s greatest asset is the star power in the film. Jennifer Hudson, both an accomplished singer-songwriter and actress has both the stunning voice and the convincing acting skills to pull off the enigmatic Ms. Franklin. She is surrounded by an excellent supporting cast including Forest Whitaker as C.L. Franklin and Audra McDonald as Barbara Franklin, in addition to Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Kimberly Scott, Tate Donovan, Albert Jones, among others.
Another aspect of Ms. Franklin’s allure and the power of her story is her commitment to the civil rights movement and her family connections with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that she both champions and sings about as she finds her voice amidst the turmoil of the times.
The story that Liesl Tommy as Director and Tracey Scott Wilson and Callie Khouri as writers for the film also tell are the struggles she faces as a child, teenager, and then still a young woman at the age of just 25 when she released her biggest hit, “Respect.”
I really enjoyed this film. The music was excellent. The story was inspiring. The cast was superb. I definitely recommend it!