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Respect | 2021 | PG-13 | – 5.5.5

content-ratingsWhy is “Respect” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “mature thematic content, strong language including racial epithets, violence, suggestive material, and smoking.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes the implied rape of a 12-year-old that leads to pregnancy, a few implied sex scenes with partial nudity, several kissing scenes, several scenes of spousal abuse ending with a bloody nose and a black eye, a fight scene, threats of violence, many arguments, discussions of Martin Luther King’s assassination and at least 1 F-word and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


Biopic tracing success and turmoil in the life of Aretha Franklin (Jennifer Hudson), from a gifted 12-year-old (Skye Dakota Turner) singing in her father’s (Forest Whitaker) church choir to becoming an international singing sensation. Also with Marlon Wayans, Tituss Burgess, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Heather Headley, Kimberly Scott, Hailey Kilgore, Saycon Sengbloh, LeRoy McClain, Albert Jones, Tate Donovan, Myk Watford, Gilbert Glenn Brown and Mary J. Blige. Directed by Liesl Tommy. [Running Time: 2:25]

Respect SEX/NUDITY 5

 – A man goes into a young girl’s room and wakes her, he asks her who her boyfriend is and when she replies that she does not have a boyfriend, he asks if he can be her boyfriend; he closes and locks the door and rape is implied (we see the girl pregnant in a flashback and hear that she was 12-years-old).
 A woman invites a man to come over to her home and he does; she answers the door wearing a low-cut blouse (cleavage is visible) and we see them sleeping in bed nude later (sex is implied and we see the woman’s bare shoulders and the man’s bare chest, abdomen, back, buttock and legs). A woman wakes up in bed (seemingly fully nude) and wrapped in a sheet (we see her bare back and shoulders, and one leg to the upper thigh; she gets out of bed with the sheet around her (cleavage and shoulders are shown) and she sits on a man’s lap and they kiss (he is wearing a robe that shows his partial bare chest and legs to the knees).
 A man and a woman kiss passionately. Two men flirt and hug at a party and one man touches the other’s clothed buttock. A man and a woman flirt and leave a party together; they walk along a sidewalk and kiss. A man and a woman walk holding each other around the waist and their hands move down to their clothed buttocks.
 Men and women dance in several party scenes. A man instructs his adult daughter to stand and turn around for another man to inspect in his office during a business meeting. A man puts his arm around a woman’s shoulder while talking about her music conveying “sex.” A man massages a woman’s feet, they lie on a bed together fully clothed and he caresses her back and hip (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 A man tells a woman, “You can use me for my body.” A man remarks about people wanting to get in a woman’s “drawers.” A woman says that church people are the “nastiest” and that people on the gospel circuit have the “best sex.” A man asks his adult daughter if she is “pregnant again.” A woman sings a song about love and kisses and respect. A woman sings a song about traditional gender roles. A man accuses his adult daughter of “whoring” and she returns the accusation.
 Women wear low-cut dresses, shirts and tops that reveal cleavage in several scenes throughout the movie. A woman wears a full slip that reveals her cleavage and bare shoulders.

Respect VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – A man goes into a young girl’s room and wakes her, he asks her who her boyfriend is and when she replies that she does not have a boyfriend, he asks if he can be her boyfriend, he closes and locks the door and rape is implied (we see the girl pregnant in a flashback and hear that she was 12-years-old).
 A man threatens a man saying that he should not mess with him or his family; the other man refuses to leave, they argue and the first man draws a gun on him (he does not shoot). Two men argue and fight, calling each other racial slurs and one hits the other in the head with a heavy object a few times (we do not see the result). A woman tries to leave a room and a man shoves her away from the door, he grabs her and squeezes her face and she yells at him before storming out and slamming the door. A man and woman argue bitterly, he grabs her around the throat and slams her against a wall (we see her later with a black eye). A man slaps his adult daughter across the face during a business meeting. Press members gather around a woman and ask her about a magazine article that details her husband having beaten her in a hotel lobby; she flashes back to getting into an elevator with her husband while arguing and we see and hear him hit her as the elevator doors close (we see her running out of the elevator with a bloody nose). A man massages a woman’s bare feet, they lie on a bed together fully clothed and he caresses her back and hip; she flinches and hits him in the nose with her elbow giving him a bloody nose. We hear that a Civil Rights activist was arrested.
 A woman in a nightclub stands up and flips over her table spilling glasses and a lamp on the floor while yelling at a singer onstage. A woman yells for people to leave her house. A woman tells a young girl, “I will beat your behind,” if she does not sit to have her hair brushed and the girl refuses, and bends over inviting her to hit her (the woman does not hit the child). Two men yell at each other and one clenches his fists. Several men argue about scheduling a tour for a woman and some want to schedule performances in Europe; one man slams on a table and tells another man to “check the tone,” as he clenches his fists. An audience member jumps onto a stage during a performance and another man becomes angry and pushes him off, and then seems angry when the audience throws flowers onstage. A man threatens to hit his daughter when she disagrees with him. A woman drinks from a glass of bourbon before stumbling onto a stage (she seems drunk); she sways and seems to forget the lyrics to a song before she falls off the stage and onto the floor in front of the audience (we do not see injuries). A man gets a phone call telling him that his wife died from a heart attack; when his young daughter hears her father talking about it, she runs out of the house crying.
 A woman tells her father not to talk to his girlfriend in a demeaning manner. A woman says, “We are tired of getting our heads kicked in” (during non-violent protests). Several musicians argue in a recording studio in a few scenes. A woman argues with two other women. A man slams on a table when his young daughter will not speak after her mother died. A woman says that when another woman did not pay her, she instead told her that she would receive her reward in Heaven. A woman talks about church people being the “nastiest” and having the “best sex.” A man says that a woman “indulges her pain,” presumably by binge drinking. People say that a woman has demons (alcoholism, depression and fits of rage). A man tells a woman that he suspects that she is “rebelling against her daddy.” Two women talk about their parents fighting all the time when they were young and that they would sit on the roof and sing to drown them out. A woman wakes up in a room where she sees many empty liquor and beer bottles; she drinks from a partly empty bottle and cries before cleaning up the empties. A woman says, “I need the church,” “I need the spirit.” A man accuses his daughter of not walking with the Spirit.
 A man puts dollar bills stained with blood in a woman’s purse and she makes a comment about him beating up club owners (we see the man’s hand is bloody, but do not see any beatings). A man remarks about another man having only one eye and we see the man’s scarred and discolored eye. Many people are shown grieving at a funeral for Martin Luther King. A husband looks at his wife with disdain.

Respect LANGUAGE 5

 – At least 1 F-word, 6 sexual references, 12 scatological terms, 7 anatomical terms, 25 mild obscenities, 11 derogatory terms for African-American people, 4 derogatory terms for white people, name-calling (honey, restless, liar, nastiest, Black Judy Garland, Black militant, demon, whorehouse, feisty, hippies, atheists, wretch, ridiculous, trifling, hustler, fools, pigs, crazy, mean, cruel, bastard, jealous, ignorant [anatomical term deleted], crude, my man, piece of trash, uptight, hillbilly, redneck, peckerwood, lying, no-good, useless, psychopath, ridiculous), exclamations (groovy, sock-it-to-’em, oh boy), 35 religious exclamations (e.g. God, Praise The Lord, Devil, Heaven, Lord Knows, Give It To God, Oh My God, Oh God, Jesus, For Christ’s Sake, You Can’t Jive God, Lord, Hallelujah, Thank God, You Aren’t Walking With The Spirit, Amen, God Is Good, many hymns are sung and prayers are recited, people talk about walking with the Spirit). | profanity glossary |

Respect SUBSTANCE USE

 – Men and women drink in several party scenes, an empty bottle of vodka is shown in a scene and it is implied that a woman has a drinking problem, a man offers another man a drink from a flask and he accepts, a man drinks from a bottle of liquor while arguing with a woman, a woman wakes up in a room where she sees many empty liquor and beer bottles and she drinks from a party empty bottle and cries before cleaning up the empties, a woman drinks a glass of bourbon, a man and a woman drink in a bar, a woman drinks from a glass of bourbon before stumbling onto a stage (she seems drunk) and a woman drinks a glass of wine. Men and women smoke cigarettes in a few party scenes, people smoke in boardrooms and homes in several scenes.

Respect DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Child abuse, rape, spousal abuse, child pregnancy, secrets, Civil Rights Movement, racism, segregation, faith, freedom, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King’s assassination, jealousy, trust, Angela Davis, non-violence, celebrity, recording contracts, respect, alcoholism, success, activism, purpose, death of a parent.

Respect MESSAGE

 – Faith can pull you out of bad situations.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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