Starring: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Tate Donovan, Mary J. Blige, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Brenda Nicole Moorer
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Musical bio-drama directed by Liesl Tommy. Respect (2021) follows the rise of Aretha Franklin’s (Jennifer Hudson) career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to becoming an international superstar and legend.
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Our Favorite Quote:'You have to disturb the peace when you can't get no peace.' - Aretha Franklin (Respect) Click To Tweet
C. L. Franklin: They want to hear you sing. You want to sing?
Young Aretha: Yes, please.
Dinah Washington: I said to them, “I’m so happy to be performing in England. But just remember there’s only one Heaven, one Earth, and one queen. Me. Dinah Washington. That Elizabeth on y’alls throne is an imposter.”
Party Guest #1: You didn’t.
Dinah Washington: Oh, yes, I did.
C. L. Franklin: For those of you visiting my home for the first time, this is my daughter, Aretha. She’d like to sing a little something for you. What would you like to sing, Ree?
Party Guest #2: How old is she?
Party Guest #1: She’s ten, but her voice’s going on thirty, honey.
Barbara Franklin: [singing] How is Aretha doing?
Young Aretha: [singing] Aretha’s doing alright.
Barbara Franklin: [singing] Just alright?
Barbara Franklin: If you ever don’t want to sing, don’t.
Young Aretha: I love singing.
Barbara Franklin: No, I know. I know. Your daddy doesn’t own your voice, Ree. Nobody does but God. And you don’t ever have to fear any man. You understand? You are so worthy, Ree. Don’t you ever let anybody tell you otherwise.
Young Aretha: Yes, momma.
Barbara Franklin: [to young Aretha] I am always with you. Even when I’m not there.
Young Aretha: What if I wasn’t here?
C. L. Franklin: What do you mean by that?
Young Aretha: I don’t know.
C. L. Franklin: [to young Aretha] Do you think you can stay silent forever, Ree? Hmm? Look at me. We must honor the gifts that God has given us, Ree.
James Cleveland: Don’t let nothing come between you and your music, Ree. Music will save your life.
Martin Luther King Jr.: Some people think that we are crazy for taking on this fight. But the forces against us are strong, and they are determined to stop us. But we are just as determined to go on! Non-violently, with love. As long as it takes to win our freedom. And Jesus is here with us every single step of the way!
Aretha Franklin: Singing for the movement, and sending people into battle with a song is not enough anymore. I need to be with them.
Aretha Franklin: [referring to her children] Every time I come back, they want me less.
Mama Franklin: That’s not true. They talk about you all the time. Every night, I show them where you are on the map.
Ted White: What are you drinking?
Aretha Franklin: Iced tea.
Ted White: Just iced tea?
Aretha Franklin: With a little bourbon.
Ted White: Yeah, you look like a bourbon girl.
Ted White: I’d like to take you out.
Aretha Franklin: I’d like you to take me out.
C. L. Franklin: I’ve always seen Aretha as more than a gospel singer.
John Hammond: Well, clearly from her demo, she’s so much more.
John Hammond: Prove yourself as a jazz artist, and everything else will follow.
Aretha Franklin: I understand.
John Hammond: She sounds wonderful, doesn’t she?
C. L. Franklin: She does.
John Hammond: Like a black Judy Garland.
Dinah Washington: [to Aretha] Don’t you ever sing the Queen’s songs when the Queen is in front of you!
Dinah Washington: You want to take me on?
Aretha Franklin: No.
Dinah Washington: Liar. You wouldn’t be here if you wasn’t trying to replace me, and every other b**ch out here singing.
Dinah Washington: How many albums have you had?
Aretha Franklin: Four.
Dinah Washington: And no hits. You out here, but I can see you still that little girl in your daddy’s living room. You’re singing everything and anything.
Dinah Washington: What do you want to sing?
Aretha Franklin: I don’t know.
Dinah Washington: You don’t know?
Aretha Franklin: I want hits. I just want hits.
Dinah Washington: [to Aretha] Honey, find the songs that suit you. That move you. Until you do that, you ain’t going nowhere.
Dinah Washington: [to Aretha, referring to her children] Child, you ever going to tell us who their daddy is?
C. L. Franklin: [referring to Aretha] It’s important that you understand that this behavior is not a reflection of her upbringing or her race.
John Hammond: Well, I’ve worked with Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday. Aretha is a saint in comparison.
C. L. Franklin: You told me before we came out here that you had it under control.
Aretha Franklin: I have control.
C. L. Franklin: You keep complaining that you don’t have any hits. This is why you don’t have any hits.
Aretha Franklin: [to C. L.] That is not why I don’t have hits. You don’t pick good songs for me.
Ted White: Listen, [to Aretha] you want to use me for my body, you can use me, baby. You can wring me dry. You and me, we’ve been through it. So we can skip all the flowers, and the promises, and the love bulls**t, and just have some fun.
Ted White: I want one thing from you.
Aretha Franklin: What?
Ted White: To hear you sing. Just for me.
Aretha Franklin: What will I get in return?
Ted White: The best night of your life.