Parents' Guide to


By Amanda Dyer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Serious themes, stellar songs in mature Franklin biopic.

Movie PG-13 2021 145 minutes
Respect Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 14+

A straightforward documentary with high production value

A straightforward sometimes painful recreation of Franklin's complex life. Hudson does an incredible job singing these iconic songs to an audience that knows every word and gesture. The production is lavish and the songs and music are the centerpiece, it is how every character communicates with each other. Ending at Amazing Grace is a solid step since it sets up the audience to want to watch the documentary (which everyone should!). I was especially happy to see how Franklin's arrangements of her songs was centered, instead of continuing the invisibilization of her immense contribution to her own success.
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+

Needs discussions of patriarchy, misogyny and racism

I love Aretha Franklin. She deserves many movies to be made about her. Unfortunately this movie focused more on the many situations of men severely mistreating her: the unnamed man who raped her repeatedly as a child, her dad, and her love relationships. It is problematic to watch these situations without talking about the threads of patriarchy (to feel okay a man needs to dominate and bully others who don't submit) and misogyny (women to be used and abused for a man's own pleasure or gain). And there is racism, too, that needs to be discussed. Racism however is sometimes more openly discussed by parents rather than patriarchy and misogyny. Parents watching this movie need to be equipped to have all those conversations. Otherwise, kids assume it is okay to act in these ways. It is not. I imagine, too, what Aretha could have done and experienced in even bigger ways if she had been treated with respect by all men and all whites.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5):
Kids say (10):

Hudson's performance as Aretha is electric, both on and off the stage. Although her voice isn't a perfect match for Aretha's, Hudson captures the singer's soulful spirit in each song featured in Respect. The film is very intimate with Aretha's emotional space. She's often seen being taken over by her "demons," which is how her depression and alcohol dependence are characterized by her family. But her story of recovery isn't typical, as the lines of good and evil are often blurred. The men in her life who supposedly save her from depression then make her suffer in other ways. Well-respected members of the community with good intentions are also greedy or take things to extremes. The film doesn't caricaturize any particular person in Aretha's life. Just as all of her sides are shown, so are everyone else's.

These complex concepts, as well as the prevalence of domestic abuse and child abuse, make the movie inappropriate for younger viewers. But Aretha's fans will enjoy the up-close-and-personal glimpse into her life. The film also serves as a learning experience, capturing some of the history of the civil rights movement as well as the globalization of soul music.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate