- Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker and Audra McDonald
- September 10th 2021
- Liesl Tommy
Jennifer Hudson plays the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, in this straightforward and conventional biopic.
Aretha Franklin personally chose Jennifer Hudson to one day portray her in a biopic and it’s easy to see why.
Respect charts the singer’s life from 1952 to 1972, beginning with her performing in church as a child with her dad C.L. (Forest Whitaker) to signing with Columbia – where she had very little success – before reaching her peak at Atlantic Records with hits such as Respect, Think, and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
Given that Franklin is a well-known and well-regarded soul icon, it’s a shame she has been given such a generic biopic treatment. The film follows the same path as most biopics and hits the familiar beats you would expect and is also much longer than it should be, especially as it ends in 1972.
It was also a bit too respectful of its subject as it handled the dark issues in her life – sexual assault, domestic abuse, and alcoholism – in a surface level way when it could have gone a little...