This Wednesday is released in theaters the American biopic dedicated to the gospel and soul singer Aretha Franklin, from her early childhood to her return to grace in 1972 with a cult album.
What is it about ?
The film follows Aretha Franklin’s career rise, from her early days as an altar boy in her father’s church to her international fame.
Directed by Liesl Tommy. With Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker.
Aretha Franklin’s youth was traversed by several dramas and marked by an authoritarian and intrusive preacher father (played in the film by Forest whitaker). Respect shows very well the way in which Aretha, brought up in the Catholic religion, will be for a long time torn between the desire to satisfy this father who considers that she has sinned by moving away from him and his desire to stand on her own feet.
Particular emphasis is placed on the singer’s spirituality and her faith. Her commitment to the feminist cause and civil rights is also mentioned, with several appearances by Martin Luther King (played by Gilbert Glenn Brown), who was a friend of the Franklin family.
Respect is an “authorized” biopic, validated by Aretha Franklin herself before her death on August 16, 2018 at age 76. The film suffers sometimes a little, spending more time on the recordings of titles that have become legendary and the success story than on the impact of Aretha’s traumas on her life and her career.
The latter are however treated with a certain restraint and a modesty which are to be put to the credits of the film, like the incredible performance of Jennifer hudson, who re-interprets the songs of the queen of soul and disappears at every moment to deliver to the viewer the personality of the star that she embodies in the most sincere way possible.
The hits are linked to the screen and fans of the artist will have their ticket to the cinema, just like the neophytes who would discover it thanks to this film. These are unlikely to leave the hall without wanting to listen to Aretha Franklin again and hum her greatest songs, among which I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You), A Change Is Gonna Come, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Think and of course… Respect.