*In a new review, The Washington Post’s Film Critic Ann Hornaday writes that like 2015’s “Amy,” about Amy Winehouse, the new Whitney Houston documentary, “Whitney,” threatens to be another formulaic rise-and-fall tale of a little girl lost to her own self-destructive impulses.
But, like that film, “Whitney” transcends the conventions of the form, delivering a powerful reminder of the breathtaking talent she possessed and the monumental future that was squandered on the altar of selfishness and greed.
- In terms of the facts of Houston’s life, “Whitney” doesn’t offer much more insight or emotional heft than last year’s equally moving “Whitney: Can I Be Me.” The biggest difference is that this film is produced by Houston’s sister-in-law Patricia, meaning that many more family members are interviewed, including her brothers, Gary and Michael. Surprisingly, that access also produces the film’s most shocking revelation, when it is alleged that Whitney was abused as a child by a close relation.
- That moment might be the most startling in “Whitney,” but it is by no means the most memorable or even distressing, as viewers hear accounts of Houston’s hyper-controlling father breaking up her close attachment to longtime companion Robyn Crawford; witness her husband, Bobby Brown, refuse to come clean about the couple’s drug use; and observe their daughter, Bobbi Kristina, fight and succumb to her own demons. (As in “Whitney: Can I Be Me,” Crawford isn’t interviewed here.)
- What lingers, above all else, is Houston’s voice: soaring on her national TV debut in 1983; commanding millions on her one-and-only take of the national anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl; electrifying anyone within range, whether in rehearsal or performance. She should have had it all and for a minute there, she did. Almost.
FULL REVIEW [3 STARS] HERE: https://wapo.st/2KH58bK
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