Jennifer Hudson stars as Aretha Franklin in the biopic Respect, runs Friday, Nov. 19 to Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Salmar Classic Theatre. (Contributed)

Jennifer Hudson stars as Aretha Franklin in the biopic Respect, runs Friday, Nov. 19 to Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Salmar Classic Theatre. (Contributed)

Shuswap Film Society: Biopic Respect looks at Queen of Soul’s bumpy rise to stardom

Cinemaphile by Joanne Sargent

By Joanne Sargent

Contributor

Rarely does success come without struggle.

In the movie Respect, we learn Aretha Franklin’s story is no exception.This compelling biopic chronicles the Queen of Soul’s bumpy road to stardom and the trials and tribulations she had to overcome.

Aretha lost her innocence early due to childhood traumas (including a pregnancy at 12 and the loss of her mother). Her father, the reverend C.L. Franklin, a domineering and abusive man, was unfaithful to his wife and exploited his talented young daughter. Aretha became a sort of vocal trophy for her father as he took control over all of her singing appearances in and out of his church in Detroit. To escape her controlling father, she married a terrible abuser who also wanted to manipulate her and her career. It took Aretha years to overcome the demons that arose due to the abuse of both men and the alcohol she used to cope.

Aretha Franklin spent a lot of time doing what everyone else wanted her to do and it wasn’t until she started listening to herself and demanding respect that she started making hit records. Finally making her own decisions, she sought out musicians based on their skills and abilities rather than their race — a testament to a free thinking woman well ahead of her time. With a gritty determination to succeed, she went about creating a sound and style that gave the world some mighty powerful songs.

Jennifer Hudson, hand-picked by Aretha before she passed, excels in the role, her acting potent and profound and her singing superb. The supporting performances are all strong, especially Skye Dakota Turner who plays the young Aretha. Respect is an exceptional story of the woman behind one of the most iconic voices in music history.

Respect is a co-presentation of the Shuswap Film Society and Salmar Theatres and runs for six days, from Friday, Nov. 19 to Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Classic Theatre.

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lachlan@saobserver.net
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