MOVIE REVIEW – It was a ‘normal dirty day’ when you expect some Respect. We get the job done: away with the keyboards, finding the right key (not musical key in this case) and simply locking the door. Let’s go to the cinema on the red carpet – I thought. So half hour later I proudly waved by MultiPass badge (the other one is not required this time) and had a sit in a dark room where the silhouette of the people is filled with a sense of duty. They’re here because it’s their profession (not pro-fashion) and because…well…it’s free.
Then comes the opening scene. Childhood, house party. ‘Come and sing for the big guy‘ and of course: subtitles. An all-night-long lyrics video!
In the classic (but all the more believable) backstory, we see the traumatised childhood of a 10-year-old talent, spun in a religious honey coat. God is good and merciful, Dad is a pastor and a psychopathic beasty boy on the other hand. (No surprise that he has less ‘hashtag respect’ at home)
Take my horse to the ‘hotel room’?
One house party is so overdone that almost Lil Nas X himself enters the young Ree’s (Aretha Franklin‘s) room to have some after-party. Of course, the scene is skimmed over and Ree has the right to remain in silence. The show must go on, which are worked out to the smallest detail. And that’s what makes the film drag and ‘slowmo’ for me, that certain additional falf hour without popcorn (I just felt the ‘pop’ part actually).
Let’s look at the characters. An aggressive husband, and Ree (Aretha) as an assertive wife, and they play ‘Hit me baby one more time’ (at least not ‘Oops I did it again’). Almost obligatory rounds: punitive Dad, forgiving Dad, hit me or leave me, drinking or driving others to crazy. We see the woman 20 years later after a camera pan around (nice time horizon jump in 1 cut: this is I call ‘life cycle’)
No pain, no gain: enjoy the rain…
The forbidden lover pulls the girl out of the family nest, then -of course- he drags her out of Columbia records and takes her to a village to play with ‘soul’ists. (right now I see a chick sleeping cross-legged on the subway seat, maybe she has seen this movie too?)
Most of the characters are the main & supporting actors at once, but the conflicts are well developed. For the sake of drama, however, there is too much forgiveness, beating and slapping (but no sleeping when concert tour goes). Not to mention the 3-4 kids who came out of nowhere and dropped into the story completely weightless. At least he cared exactly that much about them (almost ‘0’ level care).
Right about now, the funk soul brother?
Respect’s director Liesl Tommy is probably well aware of the perpetual studios squabbling, as she operates with it in her film (perhaps Universal and MGM argued in many instances), but the drama doesn’t really build itself, rather just runs backwards inside circles (in the manner of an infinite sign). The story paints a period memorial to Martin Luther King Jr (copyright by Martin Luther?) whose organ and caracal deliver the exact same way we want to remember him, based on his world-famous speech: ‘I have a dream…’. The dreams start to come true in front of our eyes.
However, in some of the gospel scenes in church, I thought I’d discover a sectarian devotion, but fortunately, it didn’t turn into ‘Drum & Bass church’ style, although unfortunately, it’s a genre of ritual, you can find it on the internet (if you like DnB of just want to blow your mind)
I need a High-C: but another one, please!
Obviously, a flapping mouth can impress someone, but it doesn’t save the assembly-line construction of a drama. For another second-class carriage always pops up, and finally, we found the toilet. The movie: ‘Ones upon in Hollywood fell apart like this. Obviously, it doesn’t help that we get musical biopics each year, so go for it if you like singing, but you will miss some Oldschool-Hip-hop at the end. If you skip popcorn on your evening, this movie will not ‘save for soul’.
‘Hit me with your best shot’ or ‘Do the Harlem shake?
To no avail: an average day comes with an average cinema event with a dramatic climax: performing for Obama and getting his name floated in key. At least I felt a little bit of ‘Freedom’ too. I would have preferred to listen to Una Paloma Blanca at the end and not because it’s about a white ‘chick’. By the way: the sweetest ‘Oh Yeah’ in the world is sung in Junior Senior’s concert video, while the most solid ‘Yeah’ is for the ultimate winner: Lil Jon. I tried to be impressed but got a bit depressed. Our main character maxes out the star-magic combo (in its flexible meaning) by the end of the story and everyone is happy. (not ‘beause I’m happy…’)
To the film’s credit, there was no weed shown (no weed was harmed while shooting the movie), so we shouldn’t be too downhearted. After all: even a fool can criticize, and criticize he does! If you like movies about the hardships of the star world, then this movie is ‘soul’ to soul. Otherwise listen to Vin Diesel (today, or ‘not today’) and leave the cinema room fast and furious (or at least curious). There’s nothing left to do but cross the t’s (at the end of: ‘Respect’ literally), as a closing chord after the looped back 8s (or 80’s). In terms of vocals, it’s a stellar 10 stars and #Respect for Jennifer Hudson‘s vocal and colourful performance. The majority of the actors are credible, but let us express our impression from different ‘points of view’.