Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a young 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 and become the Queen of Soul.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “The Queen has arrived! Respect will have viewers singing and dancing to Ms. Aretha Franklin’s songs as well as appreciate seeing her pathway to become The Queen of Soul. With amazing performances and storytelling, this biopic is epic and is sure to give viewers something to sing about and inspiration to follow their own dreams.” See her full review below.
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
The Queen has arrived! Respect will have viewers singing and dancing to Ms. Aretha Franklin’s songs as well as appreciate seeing her pathway to become The Queen of Soul. With amazing performances and storytelling, this biopic is epic and is sure to give viewers something to sing about and inspiration to follow their own dreams.
Respect tells the story about how Aretha Franklin (Jennifer Hudson) got her start by singing in her father’s, C.L. Franklin’s (Forest Whitaker) choir and weekend parties, to becoming one of the most iconic voices in music history. Along the way, we learn about the trials and tribulations Ms. Franklin had to overcome to become “Aretha” – the woman, artist and icon. Hudson delivers Ms. Franklin’s story in a way that allows you to connect on so many levels to Franklin’s life experiences.
Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson really stays true to her own acting and singing talents in this film and proves just why Ms. Franklin handpicked Hudson to tell her story! I love how Ms. Hudson does not try to overact to portray Aretha Franklin or mimic her voice, which surprisingly really works out well. My favorite part is when young Aretha and her mother, Barbara Franklin (Audra McDonald), are talking and playing the piano together and actually singing their conversation. It is very touching. Of course, the music in the film is spot on, since most of it is Aretha Franklin’s. The costumes are incredible and very fashionable. Hudson’s gowns were truly fit for a Queen. The film uses different cinematographic color techniques to represent different time periods, which make you feel as if you are watching actual footage of Aretha Franklin in her time verses Jennifer Hudson playing her in present day.
The message of this film is you have to own your voice. Don’t let others determine how you follow your dreams, what they should look like or what they should be. Ms. Franklin spent a lot of time doing what everyone else wanted her to do and it wasn’t until she started listening to herself and demanding respect, that she started making hit records. It was only then that she was able to become The Queen of Soul. Parents should be aware that there are scenes with drinking, violence and suggestive behavior.
Respect is a must-see film filled with inspiration and women empowerment. I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find Respect in theaters August 13, 2021.
Keywords: Aretha Franklin, Albert Jones, Audra McDonald, Forest Whitaker, Hailey Kilgore, Heather Headley, Jennifer Hudson, Kimberly Scott, Leroy McClain, Marc Maron, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige, Myk Watford, Saycon Sengbloh, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan, Tituss Burgess