Review: The Movie "RESPECT"

Wednesday, August 11, 2021


Hey Mofos!

I have been waiting..and I mean WAITING for this movie since the moment Aretha Franklin, THE QUEEN OF SOUL uttered the words that she wanted Halle Berry.. then Jennifer Hudson to portray her in a biopic. Y'all know y'all remember when Ree Ree said Halle Berry in 2010, then Halle said "nawl sis, I can't do no good singing like you," then Aretha sent a fax that said "chile, you ain't gotta sing, just lip sync!" Ok I have the whole drama mapped out in my mind but you get the point. Then Auntie Retha handpicked Jennifer Hudson to use her mighty voice to portray her in the film "RESPECT." The MGM biopic hits theaters 8/13, but I got a sneak peek. But first, the deets-- the film follows the rise of Aretha Franklin's career from a child singing in her father's church choir to her international superstardom. It's the story of a musical icon. 

The film stars Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Titus Burgess, Kimberly Scott, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Heather Headley, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan, and Mary J. Blige. Ya'll see there are some powerhouse sangers in this film right?

The biopic is directed by Liesl Tommy and the screen play is by Tracy Scott Wilson. 

Peep the trailer:

Now let's get to the movie. I LOVED IT. The film focuses on The Queen of Soul's life from young Aretha (Skye Dakota Turner) dealing with trauma and tragedy (that by the way about had me tearing up in them people's theater) in Detroit in the early 50s to the start of her career as a young 20 something with two kids (Hudson) navigating her own personal demons as she becomes an international star in the 60s and 70s. 

Jennifer Hudson stars as Aretha Franklin and Forest Whitaker as her father C.L. Franklin in RESPECT Photo credit: Quantrell D. Colbert

For me, the film really shined with the vocals. Turner showed out as young Aretha. Hudson sang her face clean off because I loved that she didn't try to sound like Aretha, she allowed Franklin's influence to inspire her sound. Every song brought chills as she evoked the pain and the pride of Aretha's discography. Don't laugh, but I swear fo gawd I thought Hudson also looked like Mary J. Blige from the side in some scenes. I also loved the soundtrack of the 50s and 60s, with my favs Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, I was in my lil old soul element. Every single time, Forest Whitaker as C.L. Franklin had a scene listening to his vinyl records had me straining my eyeballs to see what other records were laying around. I don't have to tell you this, but Forest, as usual, did his good acting in this movie! 

I learned so much from this movie about Aretha. Including her marriage with Ted White (Marlon Wayans) and chile, the violence, and disrespect of it all. Marlon did a great job playing White as the violent, jealous, husband/insecure ass manager. 

Marlon Wayans stars as Ted White and Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in RESPECT Photo credit: Quantrell D. Colbert

I really appreciated how the entire story touched on the theme of "Respect" including Aretha taking control of her personal life and her career. Aretha figuring our her arrangement of Otis Redding's "Respect" with her sisters is a fun light hearted moment. Standing up to her father for what she wanted, whew, that did something to my soul, especially when she decided to return to singing gospel on her terms.  The film also tackles civil rights, addiction, and of course religion. 

This is another film that is a must see in a theater to get that concert feel with the surround sound and J-Hud larger than life on the big screen as Auntie Retha. I wish Aretha were here to see the film, but I think she'd be proud of the way her story was told. 


Let me know what you think if you go see the movie! 


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