DIRECTOR: kevin macdonald (the last king of scotland, state of play, the eagle)
REVIEWER: purdie jenkins
Filmmaker Kevin Macdonald examines the life and career of singer Whitney Houston. Features never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive recordings, rare performances and interviews with the people who knew her best.
This documentary goes through each stage of Whitney’s upbringing, to her rise to fame, her huge success on the international stage to her tragic demise in 2012. Interviews with just family and friends - the people who were closest to Whitney creating an intimate look at her life, going far beyond just her talents.
Kevin Macdonald wasn’t afraid to push the interviewees in his questioning, there were moments where he asked questions to draw out more facts, no longer tip-toeing around feelings. Because of this, the interviewees respond in a way that sometimes speaks louder than their words, the intentional ignorance about Whitney’s story makes this tale seem even more tragic.
Running at two hours, Whitney covers a lot of her life, moving chronologically but also slightly thematically, which does slightly confuse the timeline. As a new topic is introduced, we might have to jump back a few years in Whitney’s life. We are never lost for too long however, and there were plenty of songs to allow a moment to mull over what was happening.
While there was explicit details of Whitney’s personal life, the were also some exploration of what it is to be black and female in the entertainment industry from such a young age. This could almost lead to a stepping stone for a mini-series using Whitney’s tale to further examine those themes.
Whitney is a heartbreaking film about a beautiful women with an incredible voice, who was lost and taken advantage of.
Whitney is a tragic tale, but for both die-hard fans to those who just know a few songs it is a very good watch.