Run time: 145 mins
Charting the meteoric rise of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson stars in this musical biopic from acclaimed theatre director, Liesl Tommy.
Following her mother’s death, an introverted ten-year-old Aretha (Skye Dakota Turner) finds empowerment through her prodigal talent for singing. Supported by her father (Forest Whitaker), musical success is pinned as her destiny when she is later offered a four-album recording contract. As Aretha (Jennifer Hudson) suffers from the darker aspects of her pursuit of stardom such as addiction, abusive relationships and loss, Respect poses a profound question: At what private cost comes public acclaim?
With such a cultural icon at its centre, Respect could easily hit a bum note or two. Franklin’s music, though, is in the verifiably safe hands of Kris Bowers, formerly of Green Book fame. Of all the vocal performances, the most notable is that of Skye Dakota Turner who eclipses all others with her staggeringly precocious vocals. With additional appearances from Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington, Tituss Burgess as James Cleveland, and Gilbert Glenn Brown as Martin Luther King Jr, Respect deftly explores the wider resonances of her story and output.