Hamish Downie’s Best Film I watched in 2021

Hamish has a little something for us as we start a New Year. He tells us about the bed movie he watched in 2021.

Have a read.

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I’m going to be upfront. I’ve only watched one film at the cinema this year (two if I manage to get out and see “The Matrix 4” – we’ll see if I see it before this column gets written). And that film was…


I heard that this film wasn’t that well reviewed. This really surprised me, because it’s absolutely amazing. Admittedly, I went into it not knowing much beyond the myth. That Aretha Franklin was born in Detroit, was discovered singing in Church, and became a superstar. I knew about the Columbia years doing Jazz, because my library had both the Columbia and Atlanta Records Box Sets. They were both amazing songs, but naturally I did gravitate towards the Atlanta set. The other thing I knew, was the Jennifer Hudson was going to play Aretha. I knew that she performed her songs on American Idol:

And when she went on radio, one station asked her to sing a song, and she sang an Aretha song, and ever since hearing that show, and watching her in Dreamgirls, I’ve wanted her to play Aretha in a movie someday. It seems that the woman herself felt the same way, and anointed her to play her if ever there was a movie. Well, Jennifer Hudson took it into her own hands to make it happen (she’s an Executive Producer on the film).

Here she is in rehearsal (Marlon Wayans says a couple of NSFW things):

Now, I probably would have enjoyed this film if it was just Jennifer Hudson singing Aretha for two hours, but here we get to find out the stories behind the songs, and about her sad childhood. Jennifer is surrounded by amazing actors, but Marlon Wayans was an absolute revelation. He really needs a nomination for best supporting Oscar. Jennifer Hudson does too, but I doubt she will win as this is just proving the promise that she showed in “Dreamgirls” was warranted. Please go and watch this film.

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