Respect review – an overly reverential homage to Aretha

Personally approved by Franklin, Jennifer Hudson captures the queen of soul’s star power, but this biopic is too well behaved to do its extraordinary subject justiceHosting the 78th Academy Awards in 2006, Jon Stewart quipped that the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line was simply “Ray with white people”.

The gag landed not so much because of its racial politics (the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag was still a decade away) but because it skewered a film-cliche truth – that no matter how different their individual stories may seem, the key beats of most rock and pop biopics are strikingly similar.

Indeed, the two primary challenges for any movie in this genre are: to cast actors who can embody their subjects’ star power on screen, and to find ways to make old movie tropes seem new.

In this regard, Respect – a biopic of queen of soul Aretha Franklin, with a barnstorming central turn

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