You have to understand that I love me some Jennifer Hudson and wanted very badly for this to be the definitive story of Ms. Aretha's life. But I left away feeling Jennifer played Aretha but only briefly bought us in to see life from Aretha's POV. To be fair, I belive that is only what.Ms. Franklin would allow.
Those limitations, along with the Hulu series Genius Aretha, stole some of her shine. The studio should have worked harder to keep that from coming out and on Hulu no less.
Also, the director, I feel, did not capture the emotion but more or less just copied and pasted events/performances in Ms. Aretha's career. They did not address how a woman who lost her mother at a young age, spent countless hours on the road alone with her infamous minister father (who got a 12 y/o member of his church pregnant). How that same man's daughter ended up having 2 babies by age 14 and she STILL become the undisputed Queen of soul. Now, I was not expecting the movie to say that her child/children were her fathers or even if she was molested by him but I did expect them to address the rumors and how they dealt with them. To omit how her playboy minister father with the "golden throat" was famous for preaching sermons and geniously pressing records to sell, who was close friends with MLK, and ended up spending the last years of his life as an invalint due to a botched robbery was not only a mistake but downright insulting. For this I blame the studio, the Franklin Estate and with all due respect Ms. Franklin herself. She lived her life in public but tried to rewrite it in real time. It's not believable.
Truth be told, Ms. Franklin owed us nothing. But for her story to feel less whitewashed
I needed to know how she coped and what made her keep going.
Ms. Aretha took her secrets with her and she was well entitled to them. Sadly tho, that reduces her story to just performance highlights and a few conflicts with Jery Wexler and the label that tried to create and control her.
The surprise performance in all this is Marlon Wayens who played Aretha's hisband/manager. Brilliantly done. You forget all about goofball Marlon and start seeing him in as a grown sexy man in a way we are simply not use to. Extreamly well done.
As for the singing tho, nobody does it better than JHud. Simply amazing. Would still watch again.