You don’t grow up in a black household- or any other household for that matter, without knowing who Aretha Franklin is, whether you’re into her thing or not. This lady was known as ‘The Queen of Soul” for good reason. I’ve heard her music many times… seen her perform live on TV quite a bit too, so I was more than a little surprised when the hair n my arms stood up like soldiers moments after she opened her mouth.
Religious or not – and I’m not particularly, you will feel this movie in your heart and soul.
Amazing Grace is a simple, unpolished film. It is the documentation of the recording of the best selling gospel album of all time. Not only was it recorded live, it was recorded on film by Oscar winning filmmaker Sydney Pollack. It was never finished due to technical issues (whatever that means) and never made the light of day until, now. Aretha barely says a word and is young fresh and singing in her prime.
If I wasn’t a fan before I am now flying the Aretha flag higher than ever. Along with the humourful Reverend James Cleveland, her childhood friend and the amazing southern California Community Choir, be prepared to be taken to church! Religious or not – and I’m not particularly, you will feel this movie in your heart and soul. It was all I could do not to clap after every song, it felt more like a hot and steamy concert back in the 70’s with no air con in sight. Even Mick Jagger jumps out of his seat for a sway and clap! There was a complimentary hanky on every seat, which I thought was odd, but by the time the film got underway, you kinda got it. If you weren’t feeling the heat and wanting to dab Aretha’s brow then you were certainly emotional and needed it to dab away at the tears.
If soul music bared her soul then gospel bares her spirit.
I knew that Aretha was ‘The son of a Preacher man’ (who, incidentally makes an appearance and has a chat with the audience). She was accoladed for her phenomenal musical achievements, but I have to say this film made me truly realise and appreciate her artistry. If soul music bared her soul then gospel bares her spirit. I walked into a movie theatre that afternoon but walked out of a church, uplifted, smiling, with a spring in my step.
If you love a good voice and have a penchant for soul or gospel, go see it… and take your mom! Rest In Peace Queen of Soul, I for one have a new found “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”.