Amazing Grace, the movie

Aretha Franklin died last year. A movie shot in 1972 with some tech problems and edited to everyone’s satisfaction but her’s in 2015, was shelved in 2015 for reasons never explained. The movie wasn’t released until she passed. Now it’s out. I guess there could be questions about that, about Aretha’s preferences, she’s the star, but the fact is that the movie made from these oddly stranded film clips from 47 years ago, film shot on 16mm supposedly for network TV, is awesome. Mainly because of Aretha’s performance, which is mind-boggling, but also because of the view our filmmakers got of life inside a Black church in LA in that moment when one of pop’s biggest stars went back to her origins. Sort of, but plenty enough. The vibe is powerful. It counts for a lot. This supposed network special is anything but what you might expect. It is raw, real, awkward, and totally winning, thanks to the collective spirit of the choir, the church and especially Aretha, who seems unhappy every moment she isn’t singing, which then seems unimportant every moment she sings.

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