‘Whitney’ Review: Did The Biopic Do The Legend Justice?
In the new biopic film ‘Whitney,’ Lifetime attempts to present the full spectrum of Whitney Houston. Airing on Jan. 17, all of the inspiring and devastating details of the legendary diva’s life are depicted, sometimes to great effect. Other times, to an embarrassingly dramatized one. Still, for fans of the late, great singer — and her roof-shaking voice — it’s a must watch.
When Whitney Houston died tragically in 2012, it came as a massive and devastating shock to fans of the singer, as well as her friends, family and, of course, her estranged ex-husband Bobby Brown. But what lead the once-bright young star down such a spiral of destruction? In Lifetime’s Whitney, that question and more were explored. Check out our review!
“Somebody would have to be deaf and blind” not to be a fan of you, Bobby Brown (Arlen Escarpeta) told a young Whitney Houston (Yaya DaCosta) before asking her out. And so began Whitney, the Lifetime film based on the iconic singer’s life.
As the story begins, the year is 1989, and it’s basically love at first sight for Whitney and Bobby. The relationship that follows, as so many will recall, went onto be one of the most talked about and tumultuous public couplings since Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio‘s (or JFK‘s, if that’s more your style).
At the start of their love affair, Whitney is about to turn 26, which calls for a major party at her mega mansion. Within 15 minutes of the moviebegining– in a moment of way-too-obvious foreshadowing– we see Whitney snort a recreational substance.
Whitney and Bobby get very serious very quickly. Early on, they get into a fight and he storms out of her home. For what will not be the last time, she turns to drugs to ease her pain. Are you sensing what’s to come? Lifetime has never veered away from the heavy-handed.
The couple quickly gets engaged– and just as quickly fly off the rails. With increasing problems comes increasing intoxication, and watching the star use drugs to cope becomes painful to watch.
Make It A Double
Painful is actually a good way to describe the majority of the film’s latter half, minus the incredible vocals (done by Deborah Cox). Even though between her miscarriage and resumed drug use there are joyous moments (including the birth of her daughter and chart topping singles), it’s clear that the film had no intention of presenting Whitney’s life through a lens of sparkling glamor or happiness.
“Vodka straight up. Make it a double,” Bobby orders when things start to turn ugly (again). Moments like that are what make Whitney border on an insultingly melodramatic illustration of Whitney Houston’s life (the real one). But then minutes later, while Whitney is on stage singing “I’m Every Woman,” for example, the film shows instances of the diva’s brilliance, and in turn, shows a bit of brilliance itself.
Overall, this movie probably won’t change any lives, nor even any minds about the fallen singer. What it does do is entertain while also presenting out of this world vocal performances and, at the end of the day, the same could be said about Whitney herself.
What did you think of Whitney? Tell us!