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(2021) (Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker) (PG-13)
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- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: A singer must contend with personal demons and controlling men in her life as she becomes one of the biggest stars in soul music.
It's 1952 Detroit and Aretha Franklin (SKYE DAKOTA TURNER) might only be 10-years-old, but her voice is amazing. So much so that her Baptist minister father, C.L. (FOREST WHITAKER) -- with whom she lives along with her sisters and grandmother (KIMBERLY SCOTT) -- often makes her get up from bed to entertain high profile guests -- with James Cleveland (TITUSS BURGESS) accompanying her on the piano -- at his house parties. She only occasionally gets to see her singer mom, Barbara (AUDRA McDONALD), and when that woman unexpectedly dies -- and young Aretha ends up raped by a party guest -- that throws the girl into a tailspin that will affect her for years to come.
Years later, however, Aretha (JENNIFER HUDSON), is still performing, and her dad lands her a recording contract that results in produced albums, but no hits. As a result, she ends up drawn to slick record producer Ted White (MARLON WAYANS), much to the chagrin of her sisters, Erma (SAYCON SENGBLOH) and Carolyn (HAILEY KILGORE), and the dismay of their father. Things look up when Aretha ends up in a deal with veteran record producer Jerry Wexler (MARC MARON) who pairs her with accomplished musicians, resulting in the hits she so desperately desires.
All of which results in her going on tour with road manager Ken Cunningham (ALBERT JONES) handling the logistics and becoming her lover once her marriage to Ken ends. But as her fame increases, Aretha's personal demons -- including alcoholism -- threaten to undermine her and her career.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- If they're fans of Aretha Franklin and/or anyone in the cast, they might have interest in seeing it.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
- For mature thematic content, strong language including racial epithets, violence, suggestive material, and smoking
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