MOVIE REVIEW: Whitney: Can I Be Me?

A no holds barred documentary charting the meteoric rise and depth plunging lows of Whitney Houston.  With exclusive behind the scenes footage and intimate testimonials from those who were part of her entourage during the short years of her life we get the ultimate backstage pass into the life of the tragic star.

Growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s we didn’t have the internet, we had to walk backwards through snow, carrying pales of water, yadda yadda yadda.  The Internet wasn’t a thing back then for us is what I’m trying to get through to you.  So we didn’t have the instant access to these stars lives as you do have now,  So I didn’t know the relationship problems nor the drug use of Whitney, I just knew I wanna dance with somebody, and The Bodyguard soundtrack, plus the film.  My brother was dating a girl at the time, some of his usual lunatic picks, who was a fanatic about her, and that kind of put me off her mostly.  I loved the film of The Bodyguard, and some of the soundtrack was amazing.  When she died back in 2012 I wasn’t shocked. It was coming from a mile off, although I didn’t know that it started back at a very young age.

The documentary goes right back to the young girl that loved to sing Gospel music from Newark.  As her mother moulds her into the singer she wished she could have been and without using the name of her famous cousin Dionne Warwick she rose to become the pop princess of the 80’s that didn’t need the theatrics that Madonna has used.  Witney used her talent and voice.  There are friends and family on hand to lead you through the early years, the difficult relationship with her mother, and the father she loved more than anything.  Then we learn, pretty quickly, that drug use started early in the Houston household.  With the music industry being careful trying to keep her away from the music that the other African-American acts were embracing, leading her to be shunned by the Soul Train awards.  Then we move on to the can’t live with or without relationship with Bobby Brown.  

Mixed into the documentary is never seen before footage of her last successful world tour back in 1999, and it’s horrifying to see that this vibrant talent and beautiful person just worn down by the industry and the demons within her that push her towards drugs and alcohol.  As Whitney’s career went skyward Bobby’s went downward leading to all types of trouble.  Friendships and family get tested along the way and those friends who were there near the end try to spin their own take on her death.

The amount of lines you can draw between this documentary and the Amy Winehouse documentary called Amy are out of this world.  People who claimed to love both stars just wanted them to keep working so that they could be their cash cows and ego boosts for them.  Very few had the best interest of the star in mind rather their own gains.  This is a documentary that you should watch, and if you know anyone who wants to go into the music or entertainment industries then you sit them down and let them watch this and the Amy documentary.  Because of that brothers girlfriend I knew more about Whitney, as he had to like her music to be her boyfriend, than I would like to know and this opens the dirty laundry of the star and shoves it right into the face of the viewer.  That is what these documentaries have to show they have to say this was a great talent, but these demons, these addictions, these users, dragged them down.

Directors: Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal
Writer: Nick Broomfield
Stars: Whitney Houston, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Bobby Brown

See full cast & crew


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