Amazing Grace

In uplifting doc, the Queen of Soul embraces the power of God

The loss of the great Aretha Franklin, best known as the Queen of Soul, has affected the world in many ways. Not just musicians and actors, but fans as well. And speaking on my behalf, I’ll never forget her classic hits like “Think” and “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”

But just recently, we’re given a documentary about her. This isn’t a history lesson, it’s a piece of history. “Amazing Grace” shows her recording a live album with the Southern California Community Choir at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in 1972. Sydney Pollack was appointed by Warner Brothers to film it, and due to technical difficulties, it remained unfinished. Until it was realized by producer and musician Alan Elliott. Get ready for a miracle.

The program lasted for two nights, and was hosted by Reverand James Cleveland, who introduces Aretha Franklin and her songs. They include “Mary Don’t You Weep,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and “Climbing Higher Mountains.” But the song that made her weep during rehearsals was none other than “Amazing Grace.” That takes the cake in her emotions.

This documentary is a miracle-one that allows us to see and hear the Queen of Soul’s radiant voice. In fact, there’s so much singing going on, that even if I wasn’t, I still needed a drink of water. This is full of energy, love, and motivation.

“Amazing Grace” is an authentic look of the live performance that doesn’t rely on narrators or big time cameos to tell their own stories about her. This show is only about her, her love for Gospel music, and the love and support from Jesus, God, and her family and friends. Let’s take a break from screaming concert fans and memorabilia attacks shall we? This is a celebration.

Given an HD look, we’re able to see the sweat and tears on Aretha Franklin’s face, even if the footage was vintage. This ranks with the recent trend of documentaries with this particular style like “We Shall Not Grow Old” and “Apollo 11.” Matter of fact, I was sure if she was covered in sweat or glitter until her father wipes her face. Either way, this is pure.

It’s not just the looks; it’s the music, inspiration, and magic of this marvelous singer. She would have been proud to see how this documentary plays out. Again, the late Sydney Pollack directed it, and Alan Elliott finished the job. Kudos to everyone associated with this project.

You better think about trying to see this.


Categories: Documentary, Music

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