Respect follows the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, RESPECT is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice. The Queen of Soul conquers the world, while simultaneously enduring an abusive marriage, constraints of patriarchy and also being actively involved in the civil rights movement.  


This film falls short of giving due RESPECT to the Queen of Soul, despite having plenty of time to do so in its over two-hour runtime. There is barely any mention of how she rose to fame in the tough music industry, while still struggling to raise her children. Also, her involvement, perhaps even as a love interest, with Dr. Martin Luther King is skimmed over, as is all her grassroots community political involvement. This appears to be just another glossy Hollywood film with big name actors (Hudson, Blige) that aims to tell a great story, but fails. There’s not one stand out moment in the film, except the soundtrack.

For a full understanding of Aretha’s family life, motherhood, and activism, I’d suggest watching National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha eight-part anthology series instead.

Available in theatres August 13, 2021 from Universal Pictures.

Directed by Liesl Tommy (in her feature directorial debut), from a screenplay written by Tracey Scott Wilson, the film stars Jennifer Hudson as Franklin. Forest WhitakerMarlon WayansAudra McDonaldMarc MaronTituss BurgessSaycon SengblohHailey KilgoreHeather HeadleySkye Dakota TurnerTate Donovan, and Mary J. Blige are featured in supporting roles.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.