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RESPECT: 2021 (Available for streaming on Prime Video.) This film follows the rise of Aretha Franklin's career -- from a child singing in her father's church choir to her international superstardom. It is the remarkable story of one of the world's most popular music artists widely known as the Queen of Soul. The film’s title is also the title of one of her many outstanding songs. Starring Academy Award–winning actor Jennifer Hudson, the movie follows the successes and struggles of the music legend. Before being cast as Aretha in this biopic, Jennifer Hudson was endorsed for the role by the most discerning of critics — Aretha Franklin herself.  Throughout her career, Hudson has received many accolades of her own for her works in recorded music, film, television, and theater. She was the youngest woman and second black woman to receive all four of the major American entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. In supporting roles Forest Whitaker plays Aretha’s father and Audra McDonald plays her mother. Figuring out what to include in a biopic is a complicated calculation, balancing entertainment value and the responsibility of telling a true story of a person’s life….a warts-and-all approach. The film tries to pack Franklin’s life into two hours and 25 minutes as well as doing justice to her incredible professional career.  Conveniently left out of the screenplay, Aretha was raped during one of her father’s parties—in her own bedroom—and she gave birth to her first son when she was just 13. The same thing happened again when she was 14, resulting in her second son. Many of Aretha’s songs are in the movie, 18 of them sung by Hudson. From her time growing up in the home of a prominent African-American preacher to the end of her life, Franklin was immersed and involved in the struggle for civil rights. On the Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, Respect received 68% based on 191 reviews and 95% Audience score. Typical of audience reactions is a quote from one of our Movie View readers, Paul K. “Aretha Franklin is terrific. Her voice is a wonderful instrument. I think it is one of the best movies ever.”  Aretha died in 2018. Barbara and I liked the film, but I didn’t think it did justice to her personal life.  We were glad we streamed it at home where we could take a couple of breaks. The movie gave us a good look at the life of the woman who possessed one of the nation's greatest voices. GRADE B+

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