Movie Review: RESPECT

RESPECT isn’t just an ordinary movie; this is a journey of a girl named Aretha Franklin who learned to express the trauma she experienced through her lyrics and voice. This movie takes place in Detroit, Michigan 1952. Aretha is one of four siblings who all shared a passion for music and loved singing with their mother. 

Ms. Jennifer Hudson, playing the lead as Aretha Franklin, was a part of a breathtaking performance. Her voice has so much power, making her the perfect person for the role of the legendary Queen of Soul. Ms. Hudson knew she was all in when she sang live on set to prepare for the movie. Aretha Franklin, the queen herself, could even tell Hudson was best for the role by hand picking her before her passing in 2018. 

“Even when it was time to film, I was still freaking out in my mind about it. But because she [Aretha Franklin] had said, ‘I want you to play me’, that gave me the courage to be able to get through it,” said Ms. Hudson in NME magazine. 

Ms. Hudson’s costumes were appropriately designed for the time and nature of Franklin’s character. Mr. Clent Ramos, costume and set designer, wanted to create the perfect look that perfectly matched the Queen of Soul.  He buried himself in books and soundtracks just to create the perfect image. This wasn’t Mr. Ramos’s first big name production; he’s actually won several Tony Awards in the past, such as for Eclipsed in 2016. Hudson also impacted how the costumes were made; she spent months training to get into character. 

Multiple sources included Mr.  Ramos’s comment, “She wasn’t like a slave to fashion, or she wasn’t like a mannequin.” Mr. Ramos said, “She was very conscious of how she deployed clothing to express who she was, every single picture, you’ll see evidence of how there’s something imperfect and beautiful about it.”

Ms. Hudson may have portrayed Aretha perfectly, but Mr. Marlon Wayans was also wonderful. Wayans is normally a comedic star, but that didn’t stop him from acting as Ted White, Aretha’s first husband, while showing their violent relationship. Multiple sources, like The Independent and Atlanta Black Star, describe Mr. Marlon Waynes “delicate touch” in wanting to show both sides of his character.

Franklin’s voice touched so many hearts and helped others overcome traumatic life challenges. The movie was so moving the audience won’t know whether to cry or get up and dance. This movie was exciting, emotional, swaying, and more. There is a real connection between the actors and their characters, while the listener’s soul comes alive to the music.  

Categories: Entertainment

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