Respect takes us through Aretha Franklin’s (Jennifer Hudson) sensational musical career from her early days in her father’s church choir to becoming the Queen of Soul and international icon she is remembered as today.
Okay. So. We’ve entered a sort of pattern when it comes to biopics of famous musicians. The film itself is mediocre, however, the lead is so convincing as whatever icon they’re portraying, that you’re willing to look past all the narrative flaws and consider it a “good film”. Add in catchy music, and you’re sold.
Respect follows this standard. And although Respect is far from being a “bad film”. It still isn’t as powerful or moving as Aretha Franklin herself.
Respect follows all the tropes of a music biopic and sticks to surface level storytelling — especially when it comes to the more traumatic and difficult elements of Franklin’s life.
And despite its shallow narrative structure and shaky direction, my biggest qualm is the length. At a run time of two and a half hours, it unfortunately FEELS like it. Like, I haven’t had that sort of fanny fatigue since Lord of the Rings. I love Franklin and her music, but I was getting ANTSY.
But it’s Hudson’s performance that keeps you in your seat. There is no better choice to play Franklin than Jennifer Hudson. Hell, Franklin herself set out to have Hudson play her. What a compliment, am I right?
And Hudson kills it. Her tremendous voice is mesmerizing and well, she commands respect.
Will she win the Oscar? I don’t know. She will definitely make an appearance this upcoming awards season. Not only because critics are suckers for a musical biopic, but before she is very deserving.
But I don’t know. There were many occasions where I felt like I was just watching Jennifer Hudson perform a tribute concert.
Final Thoughts: Respect follows the same formula of biographical musician storytelling, however, listening to Hudson sing Franklin’s greatest hits the right notes.