Genius: Aretha Reviews

July 1, 2021
The series stars Cynthia Erivo, who portrays the adult Queen of Soul convincingly without trying to imitate Franklin's voice and mannerisms, and Shaian Jordan, who is very winning as the young Aretha.
June 23, 2021
When it's firing on all cylinders, it's a program worthy of its subject matter. However, a messy first half can make for difficult viewing.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
April 30, 2021
Cynthia Erivo steps into a role she was born to play. She inhabits every emotion and feeling of love that made Aretha a titan.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
April 24, 2021
Erivo captures the composure Franklin displayed as she sang effortlessly from her core while she constantly suppressed her inner turmoil.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
April 3, 2021
Genius: Aretha links together several vignettes of Aretha Franklin's life, supposedly for dramatic effect, but the result can leave viewers feeling like they know too much and yet not quite enough about Franklin's life. While
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
March 26, 2021
When it handles this business delicately, Genius: Aretha is a joy. But as much as it misses the mark, with another Aretha story already in the can, it's worth asking why this one needed to exist at all.
March 23, 2021
Genius: Aretha seems content to tell Franklin's story through signal events in her life.
March 22, 2021
Whatever the drawbacks, Parks and director Anthony Hemingway leave us with plenty of captivating moments, too.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
March 22, 2021
Although we are told repeatedly that she is special, nothing here really "explains" Franklin's genius... But you know it when you hear it, and the music Franklin made is out there waiting.
March 22, 2021
"Genius: Aretha" is a complex tale, messily told. Erivo is captivating, but there's a need for additional onscreen text to fill in too many gaps that end up becoming the focus of later episodes.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
March 22, 2021
Genius: Aretha doesn't allow us to gain more intimate knowledge of who she is, but through its music we're at least reminded of why she deserves that designation, as does the woman playing her.
March 21, 2021
Anyone looking for a tell-all tribute to [Aretha Franklin's] life will only find an elaborate game of dress-up here
March 21, 2021
Erivo ... has a look of hurt in her eyes that I found haunting... Between Erivo's voice, and this one angle she invests into the character, I give her props.
March 20, 2021
What makes 'Aretha' so gratifying is how fully it delivers on the promise to illuminate Franklin's genius.
March 20, 2021
A respectable bio with music as its heart and Cynthia Erivo as its soul...
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
March 20, 2021
Underwhelms with rote characterizations and cliches.
March 19, 2021
Deriving its episodic subtitles from Franklin songs, Genius: Aretha is a testament to that hard work. And like the best musical biographies, it enhances an appreciation of Franklin's life and career, with an ease and grace that makes it look easy.
March 19, 2021
A confounding hodgepodge of unrelated themes and ideas, as if the creative team looked at everything it had and embarked on a frantic copy/paste effort to jazz it up.
March 19, 2021
A good but often messy attempt at dramatizing the life and career of Aretha Franklin. While there are fine musical-showstopper moments from the get-go, it has an awkward structure.
March 19, 2021
Genius: Aretha does not disappoint.