Whitney. Can I be me – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

June 5, 2017 by Roz Tarszisz
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Way back there was Janis, then Amy went and then Whitney too was dead after years of struggling with addiction, felled by the demands of fame.

Directors Nick Broomfield (Kurt and Courtney) and Rudi Dolezal have created an intimate look at the highly successful singer with a huge range and voice.  Dolezal, an experienced music video director, had extensive footage shot during Whitney’s world tour in 1999.

By using that footage, candid interviews and intercutting with televised interviews, the directors have created a disturbing portrait of a performer who found it hard to do what she wanted.

Whitney started singing in church with her mother Cissie and shot to fame soon after being launched commercially.

“Success doesn’t change you; fame does” said Whitney.

According to band members, “Can I be me?” was her favourite saying during rehearsals.

Her dilemma was that even though she had made millions of dollars, had more consecutive number ones than The Beatles and was recognized as having one of the greatest voices of all time, she still couldn’t do what she wanted to do, either professionally or in her personal life.

 Whitney married singer Bobby Brown and they had a child, Bobbi Kristina, who featured on her world tour.  In a backstage scene where Bobby is fooling around with other women it appears Whitney knew but either didn’t care or could not control him. She indicates that she married for good – although she did eventually divorce him.

In interviews Whitney was not shy to admit her mistakes.

I found it surprising that while she and her brothers were part of a church going family, apparently it was her older brothers who initially introduced her to drugs when she was still in her teens and before she was famous.

Whitney credits her mother for teaching her to sing gospel at their church, but interviewees stress that  she was closer to her father.  When he later turned on her, she was devastated.

The strength in this documentary is the never-before-seen backstage footage shot when Houston was at the height of stardom and it’s a fascinating and poignant insight into the artificial world of a top performer.

3.5/5  Released June 15 Rated M

Directors Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal

Written By Nick Broomfield

Cinematographer Sam Mitchell

 

 

 

 

Comments

One Response to “Whitney. Can I be me – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz”
  1. LIZZIE MOORE says:

    Thanks for this!