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Amazing Grace

Sydney Pollack

A documentary presenting Aretha Franklin with choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972.

“Aretha Franklin’s rapturous power and intense concentration are revealed in long, urgent closeups that seem to reflect even the cinematographers’ awed astonishment. The film is a triumph of timeless artistry over transitory obstacles; its very existence is a secular miracle.” Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“The work as it stands now has considerable merit as a document recorded during a watershed period of the American civil rights movement. As a concert film, it’s elevated by Franklin’s powerhouse three-octave range and soulful phrasing.” – Andrea Gronvol, Chicago Reader

“Amazing Grace is a rare object: something truly mythical, something we’d only ever told stories about, that having finally arrived somehow lives up to its name. That’s saying something.” – Vanity Fair

“Although the voice of Aretha Franklin, however incomparable, may be familiar to us, it’s rare to witness the sheer physical and mental exertion required to create that glorious sound. The camera tight on her face, Aretha closes her eyes as soon as she starts to sing “Wholy Holy,” as if plunging into a fathomless trance or shutting out all stimuli deemed superfluous to making a joyful noise.” – 4Columns


  • 2/16 | 8:15PM
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