Amazing Grace (2018): Aretha Franklin at her Best

It’s hard to think of a more appropriate docu than Amazing Grace, a celebratory chronicle of the great Aretha Franklin, who died in August of 2018, age 76.

Containing never-before-seen footage, Sydney Pollack’s feature offers her fans a more profound look at one of the Queen of Soul’s biggest albums.

The 90-minute documentary goes inside the recording of Franklin’s 1972 album of the same name.

After many delays, Amazing Grace premiered at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival on Thursday night, kicking off 12 days of films at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles.

Franklin recorded “Amazing Grace” at The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, and, as is well-known, the live album went on to become the top-selling gospel record of all time.

The performance was not only recorded for audio, but captured on video by Pollack.

Technical issues and legal conflicts over rights have previously kept the footage from public view.

Producer Tirrell D. Whittley sees the documentary as an “historical document for the ages,” claiming that it shows a different side of Franklin.

“Aretha was 29 years old in 1972, so this is an Aretha that people don’t know,” Whittley said.  “Most of us know ‘Respect,’ we know ‘Blues Brothers,’ we know ‘A Rose Is Still A Rose,’ we know the Queen of Soul. This is the becoming and she stepped into her greatness and she was at the peak of her power in 1972.”